I received an article this week via email from my beautiful wife (Raking up points) regarding concussions in sports and their long-term effects. Being she is a school nurse it is important to keep up with this type of information and pass it on especially to schools with athletic programs.
The term concussion means “injury to the brain caused by a blow; usually resulting in loss of consciousness”. It is from the Latin word “concutere” which means “to shake violently”. To shake violently also describes me when I dance, which is why I don’t dance. See, another life saved by reducing alcohol intake at a wedding and staying in my seat.
The reason why I feel this is a subject that needs to be addressed is simple. People die young because of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. That’s the new term for multiple concussions. This is what it does long term to people…
- Sleep Disorders
- Early onset of Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease
- Severe long-term headaches
They are studying the brains of deceased football players and compiling information. The study’s directors have found more than 100 athletes who have consented to have their brains removed and studied at The Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy (CSTE) after they die. This is always better than before they die.
Right now they have 6 confirmed cases from the NFL. Tom Mchale who died in 2008 at the age of 45, John Grimsley at 45, Mike Webster at 50, Andre Waters at 44, Justin Strzelczyk at 36, and Terry Long at 45. Grimsley died of an accidental gunshot wound to the chest. Webster, Long, and Strzelczyk all died after long bouts of depression, while Waters committed suicide in 2006 at age 44. McHale was found dead a couple of years ago of an apparent drug overdose.
A lot of these deaths seem to be related to depression. After years of damage to the frontal lobe of the brain, a significant amount of players seem to be affected physiologically. The memory issues are also significant. To be diagnosed with dementia in your 50’s is more than a little bit abnormal.
The reason I brought this up in my column is to alert the football, hockey, other sports coaches, players, and parents. We all like to watch little Johnny run down the field bowling over his opponents. I just want to remind everyone that Little Johnny would also like to enjoy his own grandkids someday. If he’s hurt, sit him down until he’s better. Period! More than two concussions in a season…done for the year. That should be the rule. Hopefully, someday it will be.
I speak from experience folks. By the time I was 20 years old I had acquired 6-8 concussions and a fractured skull, mainly from playing hockey without a helmet (DUH!) and football. I’m not sure I’m confused all the time but I can’t seem to find a turnip in my engine on top of my Shetland pony that’s parked in the garage next to my spaceship that’s got a bumper sticker on it that says “4 out of 3 people have trouble with fractions”. My spaceship is driven by a turtle named Vladimir who has a bad case of acne. Other than that I’m fine. “Honey, Marilyn Monroe is at the front door! She say’s I’m cute”.
One paragraph for the boys playing these full contact sports. You get one brain if you check the paragraph previous to this one you’ll understand how important it is to take care of it. Don’t let your pride destroy your later years. You’ll have money then, and be able to afford whatever car you want. If you’ve had too many concussions, you won’t remember where you parked it.
Source: CNN.com (dead athletes’ brains show damage from concussions)