Head and brain injuries in sports have made many headlines in recent years as concussions have been linked to mental health problems, depression and even suicide. Previous studies have found that after a concussion, the risk for depression and suicide is three times greater than it would be otherwise.
The potential dangers were illustrated in the recent death of 22-year-old Ohio State football player and wrestler, Kosta Karageorge. His brain has been examined by medical experts at Ohio State who are looking for clues that point to the growing body of evidence of a link between sports-related concussions and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
Karageorge was found dead over Thanksgiving weekend last year as the result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. According to reports he had suffered from repeated concussions. He made reference to the concussions in a cryptic text message he sent his mother before taking his life.
CTE is a terrible disease in someone so young. It’s an incurable, neurodegenerative disease that occurs in people who have a history of traumatic brain injuries. Its symptoms include memory loss, depression, impaired judgment, dementia and aggression. Although the link between suicide and CTE has not ben established, more and more athletes are suffering from similar consequences of brain trauma, and Karageorge’s suicide is only the latest in a number to suggest a link to concussion.
Here are some facts about concussion injuries in sports.
Each year, there are about 1.6 to 3.8 million sports and concussions related to other recreational activities in the United States.
The most dangerous sport in terms of concussions is football. The concussion risk for males in the sport is a massive 75 percent.
During a single season, football players have about 900-1500 blows to the head, according to Dr. David Samadi in Fox News. Soccer is the most dangerous sport for women with a concussion risk at 50 percent.
You are most likely to suffer headaches or dizziness immediately following concussions on the sports field.
Although we associate concussions with a loss of consciousness, in fact fewer than 10 percent of sports-related concussions involve a loss of consciousness.
The effects of concussion can vary from headaches, blurred vision, coma, dizziness and seizures to memory problems, lack of inhibition, lack of concentration, aggression or anger, personality changes and language impairment.
The link between concussion and suicide remains inexact but head injuries can alter the chemical make-up of the brain which consists of billions of nerves surrounded by cerebral spinal fluid which act as a shock absorber during minor impacts. If a brain is rapidly shaken or moved around inside the skull, the concussion occurs. Dr. Samadi pointed out the brain can “swell, bruise and bleed, and the fragile neural cells in the brain can become damaged”. Cells can become degenerative, which can impair your mental health.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO MINIMIZE THE RISK
Parents and coaches should need to pay close attention to children who suffer one or multiple concussions.
Players who suffer a concussion must not be allowed to play on and should see a physician before they get back on the field.
Players should wear the proper protective gear for that particular sport. Make sure it fits correctly and is being worn correctly at all times.
If a major head injury occurs, you should seek medical attention immediately.
Never return to play with a suspected concussion until given permission by a physician.
If you suffer health effects after a concussion, you should see a doctor and also consider consulting a personal injury lawyer. Often a sporting body, maybe to blame for a head injury. Recently a student who says he has suffered ongoing migraines and memory loss, took out a law against an Illinois high school association. Call Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers at 757.455.0077 or see CooperHurley.com.