Traumatic Brain Injuries And Sport Essay

2623 words - 11 pages

Unlike prescription commercials, sports do not come with a list of associated risks, but if they did it might sound something like nausea, dizziness, loss of brain function and in severe cases death. However, North Americans are not consulting their doctors before use. Even with protective layers like the skull bone and meninges the brain is susceptible to traumatic injury. Traumatic brain injures occur when there is a blow, strike or contact with the head that leads to a change in brain function. Medical professionals have long known that blows or rapid acceleration or deceleration of the head causes traumas such as concussion, hematoma, cerebral contusion and dementia pugilistica. Immediate signs such as loss of consciousness, dizziness, nausea and confusion are alarming, but it is the more severe long term effects that are causing an uproar in the world of sports. Research is showing ever more that sports related head injuries are causing long lasting brain damage. Nowadays, North American families are thinking twice before enrolling their children in sports, especially those involving contact. The sport and medical worlds need to more fully appreciate the the long lasting consequences of traumatic brain injuries sustained in sports. As it stands, the view of traumatic brain injuries in sports has lead to haphazard rules of prevention. Current return to play procedures are rarely used effectively and athletes are risking their brain health for sport. Neuropsychological tests are attempting to better asses head injuries, but research on their effectiveness is unclear. Another pressing issue is that depression often follows instances of traumatic brain injury. Perhaps most concerning of all is the length some sport leagues are going to deny the link between sports and brain damage. When it comes to sports related head injuries, there is not enough being done to handle the issue of long lasting brain damage.

The general acknowledgment of the severity of head injuries in sports had lead to haphazard rules of prevention. In the last decade the National Hockey League has been one of the more active voices in traumatic brain injury prevention. In attempt to reduce the number of head related injuries occurring on ice, the NHL implemented rules to combat head injuries. These rules include 1) targeting a players head in a body check is illegal; 2) hybrid icing to reduce the number of collisions with the end boards; and 3) extra penalty minutes for removing ones helmet during a fight. The latter two rules have been put into effect in the 2013-2014 and their effectiveness in reducing head injuries is not yet known. However, research has been done the ruling that a body check targeting the head is illegal and the studies have found that it is not reducing the amount of head injuries (Donaldson, Asbridge & Cusimano, 2013). Donaldson, Asbridge and Cusimano (2013) specifically looked at the recent rule change regarding checks to the head and how...

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