Brett Favre. Junior Seau. Jovan Belcher. Ryan Freel. Mike Webster. Derek Boogaard. David Duerson. Andrew “Test” Martin. Reg Fleming. Joe Louis. Bernie Kosar. Bob Probert. Dave Mirra. From boxing and football to hockey and wrestling, what these names have in common is a stellar athletic career. But less discussed is the darker common ground between these athletes: physical and mental complications far beyond concussion symptoms that are linked to a degenerative brain disease called CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
Football is a way of life in the U.S., especially in Texas, which leads all states in 2016 draft picks according to the NFL. We want our kids involved in sports. It’s what we do. It’s what our friends do. It’s how we get scholarships. But when your linebacker son pummels the quarterback head-on and is knocked unconscious, how concerned should you be? What are the symptoms of a concussion? What is this new thing called CTE?
Here are some things you need to know about concussions and CTE.
According to the The American Academy of Pediatrics, ER visits for concussions in kids ages 8 to 13 years old has doubled, and concussions have quadrupled among teens ages 14 to 19 in the last decade. Concussions are common in contact sports because they are caused by the head being severely hit or shaken. Concussions can cause a loss of consciousness, but not all the time. Symptoms of concussions may be delayed hours or even days after impact.
The good news is that most brain injuries caused by concussions are mild. But if you are concerned about how hard your kid hit his head during a game, go to the nearest ER for medical advice. At the very minimum, you should “sit them out” and monitor for the following concussion symptoms:
- Temporary loss of consciousness
- Headache or head pressure
- Mental Fogginess
- Amnesia surrounding the traumatic event
- Dizziness or “seeing stars”
- Ringing in the ears
- Nausea or vomiting
- Slurred speech
- Delayed response to questions
- Appearing dazed
- Concentration and memory issues
- Irritability and other personality changes
- Sensitivity to light and noise
- Sleep disturbances
- Psychological problems and depression
What is CTE?
CTE is a bigger cause for concern. It is a degenerative brain disease caused by a buildup of a protein called tau which results from repetitive trauma to the brain. This build up slowly kills brain cells, leaving a person with life-altering neurological issues such as amnesia, confusion, memory loss, aggression, depression, dementia, and impulse control problems. The symptoms of CTE are much like concussion symptoms, but its effects are long term. CTE is a rare condition but it is most commonly found in military personnel, athletes, and those who have suffered repeated brain trauma.
After intense scrutiny over the CTE findings, the NFL has issued a fine for teams that fail to follow concussion protocols. . Leagues and high school sports teams are following suit with the HEADS UP safety policies to protect children from repeated head trauma.
–>If your child is experiencing symptoms of a concussion, HHER provides emergency care services in Tyler and Longview Texas. Visit us today. Also, check out our blog on tips for keeping your kids out of the ER with some tips for outdoor play and heat exhaustion.