Renewed Urgency in Addressing Sports Concussions

 

CTE pic
CTE
Image: medscape.com

Dr. Casey Batten is a well-established sports medicine professional who serves as the Los Angeles Rams’ lead medical team physician and also holds leadership responsibilities at the Kerlan Jobe Orthopaedic Institute. Among Dr. Casey Batten’s areas of extensive knowledge are musculoskeletal issues and concussion management care.

As reported in Forbes, a renewed spotlight has been placed on the preventable scope of sports concussions following the recent suicide of Tyler Hilinski. After the Washington State quarterback took his life, it was revealed that he was suffering from early-stage chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which resulted in a brain condition similar to that of a person in his 60s.

CTE is typically caused by multiple head injuries and includes major symptoms such as depression. With the young brain being more susceptible to concussions and with impacts lasting longer than in the adult brain, a key question centers on the appropriate age at which to start playing collision-oriented sports, such as tackle football.

Another focus is on developing next-generation helmets that accomplish more than simply guarding against skull fractures. New technologies being developed effectively displace energy waves that reach the head and minimize the concussive impacts of hard hits, while others enable the helmets to slip off one another at impact.

One major step that has reduced concussions at the professional level in recent years involves the NFL taking a much stricter stance against “extraneous blows to the head.” However, it is up to coaches to teach young players to tackle and block without using the head to avoid further concussive injuries.

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