concussions

Miami Herald File AP

It's true. I gave up the NFL for one whole season. At first, I must admit it was hard. It was extraordinarily hard. Those first Sundays, I would turn on the game almost by reflex. Then I would turn it off and forced myself out of the apartment to find a distraction. But, as time passed, I learned to fill my weekends with other activities and personal pursuits. Like what? Well, the obvious. I read more. But, that's not all. I finished the first draft of my novel. I listened to a lot of podcasts and even started working on one of my own. So yeah, it got a lot easier to let go of the game.

A couple of weeks ago, eight-year-old Liam Ramsay-Leavitt of Martinez, Calif., was swinging on the monkey bars at school. "And then I just fell on my side," he says. "I was kind of dizzy and I had an achy head."

It turns out that he had a concussion.

The doctor said he had to miss school for a week — there'd be no homework (he didn't mind that too much) but also no reading, no recess, no video games, no chess club, no activity. "I would just say it's really boring," Ramsay-Leavitt says. "And disappointing."

Miami Herald

In South Florida, high school football has seen a decline in participation amid growing health concerns. Oxbridge Academy in West Palm Beach recently shut down its program after the coach said they couldn’t get enough players to field a team.

University of Miami's Concussion Program / Courtesy

The University of Miami’s Sports Medicine Institute concussion program is testing a medical marijuana pill for high school football players. 

Hundreds of survivors of domestic violence have come through the doors of neurologist Glynnis Zieman’s Phoenix clinic in the past three years.

“The domestic violence patients are the next chapter of brain injury,” she said.

We live in an age of heightened awareness about concussions. From battlefields around the world to football fields in the U.S., we've heard about the dangers caused when the brain rattles around inside the skull and the possible link between concussions and the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

A little spit may help predict whether a child's concussion symptoms will subside in days or persist for weeks.

A test that measures fragments of genetic material in saliva was nearly 90 percent accurate in identifying children and adolescents whose symptoms persisted for at least a month, according to a study published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics.

That's in contrast to a concussion survey commonly used by doctors that was right less than 70 percent of the time.

1 In 5 Teens Reports A Concussion Diagnosis

Sep 26, 2017

Concussions have gotten a lot of attention in recent years, especially as professional football players' brains have shown signs of degenerative brain disease linked with repeated blows to the head. Now, a new analysis confirms what many doctors fear — that concussions start showing up at a high rate in teens who are active in contact sports.

The Pentagon has quietly sidelined a program that placed blast gauges on thousands of combat troops in Afghanistan.

NPR has learned the monitoring was discontinued because the gauges failed to reliably show whether service members had been close enough to an explosion to have sustained a concussion, or mild traumatic brain injury.

Peter Haden / WLRN

Lawyers representing 142 retired NFL players filed a federal lawsuit against the NFL Monday in Fort Lauderdale.

They want the league to recognize CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, as an occupational hazard that should be covered by workers compensation.

Tony Gaiter, 42, is the lead plaintiff in the suit.

He played for the University of Miami, before going on to play for the New England patriots and the San Diego Chargers.

There's growing evidence that a physical injury to the brain can make people susceptible to post-traumatic stress disorder.

SportzSafe.com

Dr. Gillian Hotz is not your typical gamer. But wearing a white lab coat and tapping furiously at a tablet screen—trying to get her football-playing cartoon avatar in position for a tackle—it’s clear she knows what to do.

Elbows in. Head up. Arms ready.

Another cartoon character runs in for the hit, and Hotz is ready.

“Good job!” shouts a coach somewhere off screen.  

“That was a successful tackle; I’ve had a lot of practice,” says Hotz.

Concussions have become part of the daily news. But how much have these brain injuries become part of daily life?

To find out, we asked people across the country about concussions in the latest NPR-Truven Health Analytics Health Poll.

The poll, conducted during the first half of March, found that nearly a quarter of people — 23 percent of those surveyed — said they had suffered a concussion at some point in their lives. Among those who said they'd had a concussion, more than three-quarters had sought medical treatment.

There's growing concern about the risks of concussions in young athletes. For years, high school coaches have had to take courses on the dangers of head injuries. This year, for the first time, all high school athletes in Florida are required to educate themselves about concussions before they can compete.

Parents worry about a child getting a concussion in the heat of competition, but they also need to be thinking about what happens during practices, a study finds.

High school and college football players are more likely to suffer a concussion during practices than in a game, according a study published May 4 in JAMA Pediatrics. Here are the numbers:

  • In youth games, 54 percent of concussions happened during games.

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