New Concussion Insight

You’re at a football game for a local high school, cheering on a child or neighbor. You’re listening to the marching band play upbeat tunes in the stands, squinting at the scoreboard, or enjoying a snack from the concession stand when crash! On the field, two players collide, knocking their helmets into each other. The crowd gasps as one player falls to the ground. In a few minutes, he is on his feet again, and able to walk off the field on his own. You hear that he has a mild concussion from the impact, and are glad you didn’t witness something worse. You know that the injured player will be back on his feet after a day of rest.

This is how many of us view concussions. While we associate vomiting, loss of coordination, headaches, unequal vision, and other negative side effects with concussions, we tend to think of them as an easily-curable, one-time issue. When someone sustains a concussion, we believe that a few days of rest will get rid of the physical symptoms, and the injured person will be good to get back in the game. A recent study from the Wake Forest School of Medicine shows us otherwise.

The Study

The study focused on boys between the ages of eight and 13. It observed them throughout a season of football, one of the sports most notorious for causing concussions. Each player wore a special helmet that tracked impacts to the head during games. MRIs were conducted at the beginning and ending of the season.

Results

The study found that impacts to the head caused changes in the brain’s white matter. This is a part of the brain that facilitates communication between different parts of the brain. For young people, changes to the white matter are particularly damaging, as this part of the brain is still developing. While changes to the white matter might not cause immediate damage, it could have an effect on cognition and personality as the child grows. The study notes that changes in the white matter aren’t necessarily even considered brain trauma. This shows the underlying, long-term dangers of concussions. Along with the physical symptoms of a concussion, the study shows that there is a quieter, subtle danger than we cannot always see.

The potential for damage does not mean that children should not play sports. It just reinforces the need for proper equipment, especially helmets, responsible play, and adequate recovery time after a head injury.

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The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.

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