Traumatic Brain Injuries

With the advent of this year’s Super Bowl Sunday on February 7 and the latest release of 47-year-old Willard Carroll “Will” Smith, Jr.’s new movie, concussion, parents are reminded once again that football is a very dangerous sport, what with its capacity to inflict players with the most critical of head injuries – the concussion.

Parents of high school and college football players certainly have reservations when it comes to being happy for their children, who are playing for their dreams and sports aspirations. However, Lurie Children’s director of trauma at the division of general pediatric surgery and at the same time Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine assistant professor of surgery Rashmi Kabre says that concussions may not only occur during football accidents but in fact happen more frequently during activities like skateboarding, biking, sledding, climbing, skiing, car or all-terrain vehicle riding, among others.

For her part, Lurie Children’s medical director at the Institute for Sports Medicine and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine associate professor of pediatrics Cynthia LaBella said that the Concussion movie is portraying a very specific kind of concussion injury. She claims that the type of brain injury featured in the movie – chronic traumatic brain encephalopathy – is caused by multiple trauma to the head that can only be gained by accidents spanning an entire football career. That type of disease is characterized by progressive brain damage and significant changes to the brain’s structure, whereas a concussion causes only temporary changes to the brain’s function and does not alter its structure.

According to attorneys at the Abel Law Firm, concussions – granted that they have the same impact and force – can cause different children to experience different levels of brain effects. Textbook symptoms of them include confusion, loss of consciousness, vomiting, dizziness, headache, among others, with some less obvious signs including new-onset emotional instability, mood swings, forgetfulness, nervousness, agitation, inability to concentrate, and unusual sleeping patterns.

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