Sports Concussions and Traumatic Brain Injury
Be sure you have read the article “Neurological consequences of traumatic brain injuries in sports,” by Helen Ling, John Hardy, and Henrik Zetterberg. This reading is available through the following link:
Ling, H., Hardy, J., & Zetterberg, H. (2015). Neurological consequences of traumatic brain injuries in sports.Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier. Article in Press.Professional as well as amateur athletes in contact sports including football, soccer, boxing and hockey are at risk for repeated concussions. Fortunately, the medical community is examining the long-term effects of repeated concussions or traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) on athletes with the goal of identifying preventative measures as well as treatments. In 2012, the National Football League donated $30 million dollars to the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health to support research in brain injuries. The Ling et al. (2015) article from this week’s assigned reading discusses how chronic brain injuries lead to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive degenerative disease that includes memory loss, confusion, aggression, depression, abnormal impulse control, impaired judgment, and ultimately dementia.
Respond to the following:
1. What are the types of brain injuries that occur in high-impact sports?
2. At the cellular level, how are neurons and glia believed to be affected by TBIs?
3. What are the macroscopic features (neuropathology) of chronic TBI? How is the structure of the brain affected?
4. Do you believe there should be new rules and regulations and/or development of new protective gear? Why or why not?
5. What do you think should be done to protect professional players from TBIs? Would you recommend the same interventions for amateur players? Why or why not?
6. Based on what you have learned this week, how would you advise a friend about their child’s participation in junior league football?