It’s Not Just Football
With the recent NFL suicides and the focus on the exposure of football players and their exposure to multiple brain injuries, we need to remain mindful that there are other sports which have a high potential for concussive brain injuries. Certainly ice hockey comes to mind with the high velocity collisions, fighting and other impacts of the game. We also have the potential for brain injuries related to the practice of “heading” in soccer. In 2002, Jeffrey Astle, a formidable British header, died from degenerative brain disease, consistent with the symptoms of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy or C.T.E. that we have seen the brains of the NFL players. The recent studies of brain injury and soccer highlighted the “heading drills” as a potential culprit rather than game itself. But, let’s not leave out lacrosse and rugby or any sport in which there could be an impact to the head or “whiplash” type of injury.
Coaches need to be aware of the risks and receive training in minimizing the potential for concussive injuries. The CDC publishes as an excellent guide for coaches and sports-related brain injury prevention kits are available through the Brain Injury Association of America and the state BIA chapters.
We know that sports are great for kids, but let’s see what we can do to minimize the risks and prevent brain injuries.