Side Effects Of Concussions Essay

2342 Words 10 Pages
When you think of the word epidemic you may think of small pox, polio, or even the bubonic plague. One epidemic you may not think of is a silent one, concussion. Until recently concussions were not seen as worthy to be titled with the name epidemic until they realized the devastating side effects. Athletes and military personal used to be told to rub some dirt on it or to get tougher because the injury was not visible from a human eye, so therefore we didn’t see the devastating effects. Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or otherwise known as CTE, is a devastating side effect of multiple concussions or blows to the head. According to the Brain Injury Institute, CTE is defined as a progressive degenerative disease that afflicts the brain of people …show more content…
Even though still poorly understood, the condition of a concussion was formally identified over a millennium ago (Carroll and Rosner 11). A concussion is caused by a bump, blow, or hit to the head that causes the head and the brain to move rapidly back and forth, consequently bruising the brain. Recently, we found out that we could traumatically our brains with repeated hard hits to the head in sports. The reason we didn’t see the damage that was happening was because concussions are almost invisible. Concussions happen in many sports including football, soccer, rugby, hockey, and even cheerleading. According to The Concussion Crisis: Anatomy of a Silent Epidemic, retrieved from Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, “Estimates by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) range anywhere from 1.6 million to 3.8 million sports-related concussions in the United states annually” (Carroll and Rosner 11). There are many more that go undetected and undiagnosed. If a concussion isn’t taken care of properly it can lead to devastating traumatic brain injuries such as CTE. Chronic traumatic encephalopathy is a build up of tau protein in the brain (Cearnal). “The tau protein is a structural element of tiny tunnels, called microtubules, in the axon. These tunnels are the transport system of the cell, like a highway or railroad” (Nowinski). So that means that when the protein malfunctions the tunnels won’t work …show more content…
Concussion protocol has come a long way in the last few years. For an athlete to participate in any activity they have to take baseline concussion tests so that it is easier to detect a concussion after a blow to the head. Most of the research that is being done today is on football players. A very popular test is called the ImPACT test. ImPACT stands for immediate post-concussion assessment and cognitive testing. Developed in the early 1990s by Drs. Mark Lovell and Joseph Maroon at the University of Pittsburg, this 20-minute computerized test measures attention span, working memory, nonverbal problem solving, reaction time, and other factors. It 's most effective when compared with a baseline test, one that savvy players have not gamed to set a low bar for themselves (Cearnal). The ImPACT test is taken before any chance of a possible concussion so that when an athlete does get injured they can compare previous scores to one after the hit. If the post-injury score is lower than the pre-injury score then they can use that information to detect a possible concussion. Another system that is being created by Georgic Tech and Emory University is called the DETECT system. This system can perform neuropsychological tests in 7 minutes in an “immersive environment,” meaning no visual or audio distractions (Cearnal). During the test the athlete wears headgear with an LCD display inside and

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