MLB. NBA. NHL. And the mother of all sports, the NFL. While they are all entertaining, professional athletes are at risk for sports-related brain injuries for all the leagues listed.
As many Americans tune in to watch their favorite NFL team,
we witness super-human feats, which overshadows the possibility of traumatic brain injuries and concussions and the long-term effects they can have on players. These
performances become our expectations week after week as we witness bones breaking, heads crashing, bodies slamming, and more. In the past, these experiences created a bonding at the water coolers which turned into cubicle conversations and now tweeted to nauseam. This excitement, the fame, encourages young athletes to pursue this sport placing them at risk of sports-related brain injuries,
Arguably football is one of the most intensive contact sports with an injury risk that profoundly affecting our children and the 15-19 age group with the highest reported brain injuries. And it isn’t just a one-and-done injury, concussions are cumulative, and once you have one, you are twice as likely to have a 2nd concussion and 3 times more likely to have a 3rd. It doesn’t stop there. For each game a player resumes, they have an additional 10% chance of being concussed (Healthy Sport Index). (CDC-HeadsUp). These are terrifying statistics, but even more worrisome is the insufficient data for head injury recovery for our children.
How Can Sports-Related Brain Injuries be Avoided?
In the study Barriers to the Implementation of State Concussion Laws Within High Schools, researchers exposed a variety of barriers that prevent us f
rom learning more about concussions and effectively addressing them. Investigators found that the major causes of concussion injuries are either systematic or cultural in nature. Systematically, means they are caused by a lack of concussion education, staff training, and under-reported concussion symptoms. Culturally, there is a general resistance to address concussions seriously from parents and coaches to sports culture and “old school” mentality.
How effective were the laws? Not much.
At the core of this problem is the lack of reporting of a concussion. Despite laws being implemented to collect this data, there is an overall lack of standards for collecting injury data. How is this so? Laws are different in every state, both in terms of requirements and methodology for collecting data. So, when we add the under-reporting of concussions with the lack of standards in the reporting process, with the exponential increase of re-concussing how can we expect that scientists and clinicians have adequate information in order to accurately help us? We shouldn’t.
So, what’s the solution?
Standardized data collection. Standardized measures create more universally applicable solutions. They accelerate treatment creation, which can lead to accelerated innovation in concussion treatment. This can result in better knowledge sharing that enables accurate diagnoses and treatment; for our children.
If we wait for regulatory laws to catch up to this health crisis, it may be too late. Join us at Power of Patients. We bring a structured and personalized path to addressing concussions and TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury). We’re bridging the gap to by empowering people with the tools they need to take matters into their own hands. Our TBI platform tracks injury-related data, symptoms, and your rehabilitation process that can leverage your data to personalize your treatment.
Your Health | Your Data | Your Terms
Contributing Writer: Curtena Nguyen