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Concussion: Americas Hidden Epidemic

damaged brain [1]The NFL has recently reached a $765 settlement with former players who say that concussion they suffered playing football has caused lasting damage. (source [2])

Although people tend to view concussion as a minor injury it isn’t. Concussion is a traumatic brain injury and people who have had concussion can suffer from it’s affects for years.

It’s not just football though that causes traumatic brain injury. Military veterans are obviously top of the list for this type of injury. Even a blast wave can cause the brain to get shaken inside the hard vault of the skull, and it’s this that causes the trauma. More than 260,000 veterans from Afghanistan and Iraq have been diagnosed so far. There will be more.

Surprisingly after American football girls soccer is the fastest rising category of teenaged traumatic brain injury according to Dr Anand Veeravagu of Stanford University.

Medical concussion is abnormal brain function that results from an external blast, jolt or impact to the head. There does not need to be a skull fracture, ‘rattling’ of the brain within the skull is enough to cause damage. The brain is soft, almost gelatinous and shaking it can cause damage such as bleeding, neuron damage and swelling. Repeated shaking causes repeated damage and this over time can result in permanent brain dysfunction, as it has with some boxers.

Daisy Luther [3], who runs the website The Organic Prepper [4] recently suffered a serious fall down a ravine and suffered a concussion as well as many other injuries, thankfully none of them life threatening.

The CDC [5] estimate that  1.7 million incidents of traumatic brain injury occur in the United States each year and the figure is rising year on year. Other than not getting into a position where a traumatic brain injury can occur there is no way to prevent them. Cycle helmets are good for preventing fractures of the skull but do nothing to prevent the brain moving within the skull vault.

Emphasis needs to be placed on getting prompt medical attention after even a minor head trauma. The tests and procedures for treating head injuries are not for the lay person. Medical assistance should be sought immediately, or as soon as possible should you be away from help, hiking in the backwoods for example.

Medical intervention can in this case assist in preventing future problems from the injury. By assessing the seriousness of the insult to the brain appropriate treatment can begin which is vitally important in preventing further damage.


Take Care

Liz