Articles Posted in Brain/Head Injuries

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) has been making headlines for the past year or so, as it was detected that this tragic degenerative brain disease has been affecting professional athletes. CTE has recently begun to be studied in-depth by many doctors and scientific researchers throughout the country. CTE is a progressive degenerative disease that generally affects individuals who have incurred a significant amount of trauma to their head. Although CTE has just recently been garnering national recognition as a serious disease, it has actually been detected in professional boxers as early as the 1920s. However, recent studies focusing on the brains of deceased football players revealed that these players’ brain structures were severely damaged and included a build-up of abnormal proteins.

brain-951847_960_720Unfortunately, individuals experiencing this trauma often suffer significant and life-changing experiences. Some common symptoms that people report are depression, anxiety, aggression, memory and cognition problems, lack of impulse control, and impaired judgment. There have been tragic instances where athletes have committed suicide and it was later discovered that they were suffering with CTE.

The New York Times recently published an article focusing on a college football player who was discovered to be suffering from CTE. The football player was an offensive lineman for the University of North Carolina and was by all accounts a well-adjusted individual. However, after sustaining repeated injuries he ended up homeless, addicted to drugs and alcohol. His family noted that he often complained that he felt that he was different and that “something was wrong with his brain.” The young college athlete ended up riding his bike straight into oncoming traffic and was killed after being hit by a car. His mother argued that she is sure that his actions qualify as suicide.

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Earlier this month, the National Football League adopted a new rule that allows a medical professional on the sidelines to pause the game and determine if a player should be assessed for a concussion. The new rule was announced amidst settlement negotiations between the NFL and a class of about 5,000 players who claim that the League failed to take adequate precautions to prevent brain injuries, including concussions.

football1-399827-mAccording to a recent article by ESPN, many in the sports world are applauding the measure, explaining that it will almost certainly prevent at least some of the head injuries that occur in the league.

How the New NFL Rule Works

According to the ESPN report, the new rule will work as follows:

  • An official in a booth on the sideline keeps an eye on players during the game, pausing the game if he believes that the player may have sustained a concussion.
  • The game’s clock will then stop and remain frozen during the pendency of the examination.
  • The injured player’s team will be given an opportunity to substitute in another player, and the opposing team will then be allowed to substitute a match-up, if necessary.
  • At no point will coaches be allowed onto the field, and there will be no headset communication permitted. Also, no players will be allowed to the sideline unless they are being substituted out.
  • The player in question will then undergo an evaluation and, depending on the result, may or may not return to play for the rest of the game.

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