Brain Injuries from Sports Concussions
The American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) has written, ". . . that brain-related football injuries oc-cur at a rate of one in every 3.5 games. Over 250,000 football play-ers, approximately 15 percent of the players, suffer a concussion each season. In any given football season, 10 percent of all college players alone will sustain a head injury and 20 per-cent of high school players sustain brain injuries."
No longer are concussions thought of as just "dingers". According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) concussions are brain injuries which warrant proper evaluation, management and follow up. Over the years, standards have been developed when brain injured athletes should return to play. Return too early to physical activity can have dire consequences should the athlete receive another concussion. The second concussion occurring before the athlete has fully recovered from the prior concussion can result in exponential brain damage. Athletic department staff, medical personnel and coaches need to take affirmative action to protect the athlete, despite the athlete's desire to "tough it out." This is where the sports culture can clash with medical science. Hopefully, suits against professional leagues, colleges and athletic organizations will keep this important issue before the public. Appropriate monitoring, evaluation before and after the sports concussion will continue to protect athletes, be they professional, amateur, young or old. There is already a movement to prohibit football tackling for players under 14 years old and a growing interest in flag football.
A person with a sports concussion must be seen by qualified medical attention who understand not only the dangers that may be associated with the initial concussion but also aware that if the concussed athlete has another concussion before the first one has healed, he can suffer devastating injury according to Joseph Maroon, MD, a Pittsburgh-based neurosurgeon who has worked with the Pittsburgh Steel-ers and has conducted extensive research on sports-related head injuries.
Those involved with athletes, emergency medical personnel, trainers, coaches, school authorities should be familiar with recommended guidelines on when it is appropriate to return an athlete back to athletic activity. Our office will be speaking on this particular subject at the upcoming "Sports Concussion Conference" sponsored by the Massachusetts Brain Injury Association. (www.mbia.net)
We invite you read more about brain injury litigation here on our website. For further information, you may contact our office online or call us at 617.426.2558.