Wednesday, February 3, 2010


"According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 20 percent of the brain injuries that occur yearly in the U.S. can be attributred to athletics. That is more than 300,000 concussions! High school, college and amateur athletes receive most of these injuries, because thee are so many more of these players than there are pros." 1 There are an estimated 62,800 concussions annually among high school students nationwide. 2 Data from the NCAA Injury Surveillance System for the perior 1994-1996 estimated that more than 1500 concussions occur annually in college football. 3

"'This is a major public health issue that's been geven short shrift,' says Michael W. Collins of the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. 'It's underrecognized, underdiagnosed and misdiagnosed. It's happening with alarming frequency at the
high school, college, and professional levels." 1

"A single blow to the head can cause a whole range of symptoms, from problems with balance and coordination to impaired decision making, failing memory and personality changes. Unless the injury is severe, patients generally recover with time. But most athletes return to games or practices far to soon. A second blow before a consussion is fully healed has a far greater chance of imposing more serious, long-lasting harm." 1

393 college football players were studied and about one in three had suffered a concussion and one in five had suffered two or more. Those who had suffered two or more were significantly more likely to report continuing problems with headaches, sleep and concentration, and they scored significantly worse on tests of the ability to learn words, to think quickly and to handle complex tasks. 2

Players who had learning disorders fared even worse if they had two or more concussions, suggesting that the disorders make the brain especially vulnerable to jarring head injuries. 2

Another study in JAMA reported that amateur soccer players scored lower on tests of memory and planning than other amateur athletes did, and that repeated blows to the head may be the culprit. 2

1 Shulman, Polly. "Blowing the Whistle on Concussions." ScientificAmerican Presents, 11(3):44-51, Fall, 2000.

2 A collection of articles on brain injury in high school, college and professional athletes can be found in the Journal of the American Medical Association, 22(22); September 8, 1999.

3 NCAA Sports Medicine Handbook 2009-2010

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