How Many Concussions Is Too Many To Play Football Concussions: Use Your Head

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Concussions: Use Your Head

As a play on the words of a line from My Fair Lady, the brain of pain mostly stays in the rain. It remains all “wet” or whatever adjective you want to use. The bottom line is that we now recognize concussions for what they really are, traumatic brain injuries (TBI). To further this idea, we now know that sustained TBIs are responsible for the condition Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). This state of altered personality and health has been derided by some as a silly invention to blame others for. Those who question this condition do so on the basis that only a small number of athletes report symptoms. These doubts suggest that there are other factors. What’s really worth considering is how others have avoided CTE. Are these opponents suggesting that the 42% of combatants returning from war zones with reported TBI are faking it? We still do not believe that there is ever a complete recovery from TBI. We just don’t have enough research and data. Use your head, people. TBI and CTE are real and potentially devastating.

Junior Seau’s family allowed his brain tissue to be examined to see if there was suspected CTE. CTE has been implicated in a growing number of concussed former athletes, especially from the NFL. Dave Duerson is very methodical about his suicide. With a bullet in his chest, he must have known something was wrong with his brain and kept it for examination, the ultimate sacrifice of a team player. I wonder if Seou was thinking the same thing when he also kept his brain the same way.

The Department of Defense (DoD) feels that enough resources have gone into the problem of TBI. We have only taken the first steps so far and we only know a little more. That being said, our community faces thousands of veterans returning from theater of war and their families who must deal with TBI and its profound consequences. We also have many athletes who face the same future.

So what is the answer to maintaining brain health? No football or hockey? Abolition of the sport is not a viable option, but changes to the rules in light of new information are essential. Equipment manufacturers have invested heavily in designing helmets and other equipment to reduce trauma.

There is now strong evidence that nutrition plays a bigger role in brain health than anyone imagined. Much quality research remains to be done, but early findings suggest that docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), both omega-3 fatty acids, are important in brain health. Both are found in fish and krill oil, among other foods. The verdict is on loading those entering the war zone with DHA/EPA, and designing a way for wounded warriors to receive amino acid overdoses even before they reach field hospitals. They think there is enough information about the benefits to promote the idea.

We also now know that performing new mental tasks and/or performing new physical tasks creates new neural (brain) pathways that help keep the brain healthy. I’m right-handed, but every Wednesday I try to do as many things as possible with my left hand, like shaving (and I have the cuts and scars to prove it). I do the scrambled word on paper every morning. All of this comes back to the same idea discussed earlier: Use it or lose it.

We also need to allow athletes to rest the injured brain, although how much is still a question. We shouldn’t be asking an athlete with a badly sprained ankle to run a world-class race, even though some people or teams do. Working with fellow athletes who were once perfect, articulate, funny and humorous people who turned into sad, hopeless and helpless people because they were not given proper precautions, prevention and treatment. about their brains.

And what exactly does all this have to do with the psychology of the transitioning athlete, you ask. We now seriously understand that there really is no separation of mind and body. The two have always worked together and will always work together. Nothing discussed here is guaranteed to prevent TBI or CTE, but we all need to use our heads as much as possible to protect our brains. A healthy brain that functions well psychologically makes for a healthy transition for the athlete.

©Copyright Yellen & Associates 2015. All rights reserved

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