Serious Injuries From Playing Football
For many years, scientific findings repeatedly established that individuals who sustain repeated head trauma, such as concussions, are at an increased risk of permanent brain trauma.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, retired NFL players who have suffered a concussion have an increased risk for developing some serious mental conditions. Studies presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in 2011 show higher rates of mild cognitive impairment (MCI), a condition in which a person has minor cognition problems affecting memory or thinking ability. Previously, in 2005, a medical study concluded that the on-set of dementia-related symptoms may be associated with repetitive head trauma among professional football players.
Findings suggest repetitive head trauma may lead to increased risks for cognitive disorders later in life, one hypothesis being that brain cell loss can damage an individual’s cerebral reserve. These damages may lead to earlier developments of Alzheimer’s disease or MCI.
On top of this, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Center for Disease Control and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health also issued an NFL Notification about brain and nervous system disorders. This notification confirms past findings about the increased risk of retired NFL players developing brain and nervous system disorders compared to someone from the general population. A specific look at diseases such as ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), Alzheimers, and Parkinson’s (Lou Gehrig’s disease) were examined. Of these, ALS and Alzheimer’s were four times higher among players than other men in the general U.S. population.
Other studies have also identified a condition called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). CTE has symptoms similar to Alzheimer’s, ALS, and Parkinson’s and occur in people who’ve had multiple concussions or a or a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
What is a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury)?
According the Alzheimer’s Association, a traumatic brain injury can result from an impact to the head that may disrupt normal brain function. The effects of this type of injury may affect a person’s cognitive abilities, including learning and thinking skills, however symptoms depend on whether the injury is mild, moderate or severe.
Symptoms of a brain injury include:
- Inability to remember the cause of the injury or events that occurred Immediately before or up to 24 hours after
- Confusion and disorientation
- Difficulty remembering new information
- Blurry vision
- Nausea and vomiting
- Ringing in the ears
- Trouble speaking coherently
- Changes in emotions or sleep patterns
What is a concussion?
A concussion is categorized as a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) that either doesn’t knock you out or knocks you out for 30 minutes or less. Short-term symptoms often appear at the time of the injury, but can develop days or weeks later.
To read more about these serious injuries and disorders that may occur from playing football, visit our Complications page.