Traumatic brain injury (TBI) has been getting a lot of attention over the past few years. It seems that finally, after years of mounting evidence about the scale of the problem, society has begun to take notice. TBI is now seen as the major problem it is among military veterans, professional athletes, and even those who participate in youth sports.
But research now suggests that we shouldn’t focus all our attention on just one obvious part of the problem (concussions). Instead, especially where athletes are concerned, we need to be more alert to repeated hits that don’t cause any symptoms.
Repetition Even More Dangerous
The new study, a seven-year collaboration between six institutions in the United States, United Kingdom, and Israel, reports that it’s more likely that repeated “subconcussive” his—those that don’t knock the victim unconscious or leave them with clear symptoms like headaches, dizziness, and confusion—are behind the most severe form of TBI, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
CTE is a degenerative condition that develops over time and can show up in the form of memory loss, depression, paranoia, and eventually dementia. There is no treatment and no cure for CTE.
The study, mostly done in mice (but including post-mortem studies of the brains of young athletes who died of other causes) found that even when concussions had not been reported there was clear evidence of the same kind of damage in the brain. The researchers note that this would help explain why at least 20 percent of those known to have CTE have no history of concussion.
Long-recognized Problem, Slow to Acknowledge
The problem of CTE isn’t new: It was first labelled in 1949, based on decades of previous observations. It’s only been in recent years that the severity and depth of the damage has been acknowledged.
The NFL was slow to respond to the damage suffered by its players, but concerned parents have reacted better. Still, a survey last year found that nearly one in five parents would let their children play football (one of the highest-risk sports for concussion) and nearly six in ten would let their children play soccer (which has a lower concussion rate but still sees many simply because more children are involved).
Sports Only One Angle
While sports injuries and their connection to TBI grab headlines, as many or more head injuries happen because of car crashes, accidents (such as falls), and assaults. This kind of injury is never a laughing matter and should always be taken seriously: close to 3 million people make emergency room visits each year for TBI treatment, and TBI is behind about 30 percent of all injuries that lead to death.
Detroit Brain Injury Lawyer
When you or someone close to you has suffered a serious head injury, such as TBI, you can feel confident when you turn to Christensen Law for help. Our team understands the seriousness of brain injuries, as well as the special considerations that victims and their families have to deal with during the recovery period (and perhaps into the future).
We offer a free and confidential consultation to every client to discuss their case, and there is no obligation, so you can feel comfortable talking to us. Give us a call today at 248-213-4900 or contact us online through the form below to schedule an appointment or to learn more.