New Research Shows Long-Term Affects of Repeat Concussions
Waxahachie, TX (Law Firm Newswire) February 7, 2013 - Researchers have released their findings after analyzing the brain tissue of deceased former NFL linebacker Junior Seau.
The analysis found that Seau had a debilitating brain disease, one which was probably caused by blows to the head he suffered during the twenty years he played football. Neurosurgeons specifically studying the brains of former pro football players who had complained of dementia and depression found that, in many cases, the players had been suffering from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). The findings are just the latest in the ongoing study of concussions and football, as public concern about the safety of football players on the field continues to mount.
Experts warn that a hit to the head on the field can have as much impact as being in a car accident. "Parents who have children playing football should stay on top of the latest best practices for suspected concussion," cautioned Waxahachie personal injury lawyer John Hale.
At Virginia Tech, Stefan Duma heads the biomedical engineering department, where he headed up an impact study. Helmets equipped with sensors were worn by elementary school aged boys while they played football for a season. While many impacts were considered inconsequential (blows with about as much force as a pillow fight, researchers say), five percent of the hits were as violent as being in a car accident. Duma and colleagues noted that while the harsher blows were still usually below concussion-causing levels, research has found that cumulative smaller blows can cause damage, as well. And, says Duma, the still-growing brains of young athletes may be at higher risk for that damage.
Can helmets be designed to offer better protection? The issue is not just protecting against impact, experts say, but they also need to protect against torsion and angular acceleration, when the brain keeps moving after impact, hitting against the inside of the skull.
According to the peer-review journal Neuruology, retired football players have been found three-to-four times more likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and ALS (more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease) than men of the same age who did not play pro ball.
While no definitive moves have been made to modify the NFL, Pop Warner, or helmet design, researchers continue to study the long-term effects of brain trauma experienced on the field.
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