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Medical Professionals Now Looking At Concussions

It seems to have taken a number of highly-publicized professional athletes to die by their own hand before people started more seriously looking at the long-term issues of traumatic brain injury.

Athletes with traumatic brain injury who are still alive may well be wishing they had known more about the cumulative effect of concussions during their days playing their sport of choice – be that hockey, football, soccer or volleyball. Many professional athletes now estimate that they have sustained eight or more known concussions throughout the course of their career. While that seems like a small number, the brain doesn’t count. Traumatic brain injury seriously affects those who suffer from its effects. Many parents wonder if they should sign their children up for school sports like football, when concussions are a common occurrence.

It has only been very recently that more educational institutions have started to pay attention to what concussions mean in the long-term for its athletes. Since the spate of hockey deaths over the last few years, many state colleges have begun to implement programs specifically focusing on traumatic brain injury. With some luck, perhaps a recent study underway in Nebraska will help others across the nation treat concussions.

The CDC recently released evidence that concussions for kids and adolescents have jumped sixty percent in the last decade. That number has frightened doctors into looking more closely into how brain injuries happen and what can be done to help victims. One doctor in particular, at the University of Nebraska, wanted to drive a project looking for more answers about traumatic brain injury.

The Center for Brain, Biology and Behavior was launched two years ago, by Dr. Dennis Molfese, whose main goal is to try and determine what people were like “before” they sustained a head injury. Often that vital piece of information is missing after the fact. Identifying the missing pieces of the puzzle, Molfese partnered with the Ivy League and the Big 10 conference to closely examine the brain, before and after concussion, with one burning question in mind: “Did people really recover from concussions and if so, to what extent?”

The initial research begins with baseline tests on the brains of athletes at the start of their season. The baseline is then used as a benchmark to compare with subsequent tests taken later, after the participant has sustained a concussion. The doctor hopes to determine how the brain has changed, how that affects behavior and how do they recover (or do they) over the long-term.

Although football seems to be the sport in the spotlight most often, the risk of concussion exists in many other sports. Perhaps this type of research may benefit all players in sports where the risk of brain injury is a very real one, every time they play.

Brooks Schuelke is an Austin personal injury attorney with Perlmutter & Schuelke PLLC. Contact an Austin injury lawyer at or (512) 476-4944.

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