Tag Archive for TBI and NFL

Football and Head Injuries: What You Need to Know

By Emily Roberts MA, LPC

Fall is football season, not just in Texas, but all over the U.S.  High school football games have a larger turn out then most local elections, with thousands cheering in the stands.  College football is like a religion, especially in Austin and other college towns.  When the University of Texas plays, the city is isolated. Young boys look at football players with more admiration than they do billionaires, and look at injuries as impossible, unfortunately many of their parents do as well, until its too late. Recent research concludes that numerous blows to the head, even at an early age, is more likely to create life long memory impairments, migraines, mental disorders, vision problems, and even spinal-cord injuries.

What we know about head-injuries, even the small ones, say your toddler falling off the jungle gym, can cause an impact on their brain functioning for life. Many of us think these falls are normal, a little bump or bruise, but the long term effects are greater than most of us expected.  With little boys playing contact football, the head injuries and concussion rate sky rocket  leading to behavioral, psychological, and physical damage to their health and livelihood.

Check out these statistics from the eye-opening TIME article The Problem with Football by Sean Gregory Click here for full article

  • Each year high school football players suffer an estimated 67,00o reported concussions; however the true incidence is much higher as many don’t report symptoms
  • Ex-NFL players over the age of 50 were five times more likely to have a memory-related disease
  • One out of 53 chances that an NFL retiree ages 30-49 will receive a diagnosis of dementia, Alzheimer’s, or another memory-related disease; 1 out of 1000 in the general population
  • 26% of former NFL players who receive a diagnosis of depression
  • Over 76 % of college football players who report concussion-like symptoms

Buzz Bissinger wrote Friday Night Lights and recently discussed the catastrophe of spinal-cord injuries in high school football in his article A Lifetime Penalty, parents this is a MUST read. Approximately 1 in 100,00 high school football players suffers a serious spinal-cord injury. This may not be concerning to most parents, but new research concludes that even with undiagnosed concussions, or impact to ones head, severe cognitive impairment can occur.  at Purdue University researchers suggests that some high school football players suffer undiagnosed changes in brain function and continue playing even though they are impaired. “The findings support anecdotal evidence that football players not diagnosed with concussions often seem to suffer cognitive impairment.” According to Science Daily News, Click here for full article.

Dr. Daniel Amen has conducted research on over 100 ex-NFL players concluding many of the .ings above, and is actively working on fixing their brains, for his full report click here.  Dave Pear’s Unofficial Blog for Football Veterans, has former NFL players personal stories on traumatic brain injury, undiagnosed concussions, and the ramifications of the game on their overall health. 

Football is a America’s passion, it’s not that we need to get rid of the sport, but rather be aware of the safety issues, have more safety precautions in place, and provide parents, players, trainers, and coaches with the education needed to make the best decsions for their long-term health.  This awareness may keep your little one from playing the game, or may make you more cautious about checking after a hard hit, regardless lets not discount the fact that head to head contact, cant ever really result in a positive outcome, unless of course its a touchdown.

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