Sports Injuries - Concussions What Is A Essay


Sports Injuries - Concussions What is a Concussion?

The Latin word concutere -- the source for the English word concussion -- means, literally, "to shake violently," according to Dr. Robert Cantu, Chief Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery and co-director of Boston University's Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy. In his book, Concussions and Our Kids: America's Leading Expert on How to Protect Young Athletes and Keep Sports Safe, Cantu reports that nearly four million sports and recreation-related concussions are sustained each year, and "…many times that number" go unrecognized (Cantu, 2012, p. 2).

Concussions in sports happen when an athlete is "…slammed and makes sudden and forceful contact" with the ground, a court, a pool deck, a batted or thrown ball, a kicked ball, and "…of course with another player," Cantu explains (p. 3). A concussion can occur without any contact with the head, Cantu asserts. The "whiplash effect" is when a player's body makes sudden and violent change in direction and speed; the "…brain shifts in the cerebrospinal fluid" and slams against the inside of the player's skull (Cantu, p. 4).

There are two types of accelerations that cause concussions, Cantu explains. The first is "linear," like the force when a car crashes into a tree. The driver's head snaps "violently" at the moment of impact. The second type is "rotational"; for example, a football player runs from sideline to sideline and a "hard-hitting defensive player…makes a crunching tackle from the side" (Cantu, p. 4). The collision causes a violent whip of the ball-carrier's head to one side. In this jolt, the brain contacts the skull and it is likely an injury can occur is the collision is violent enough (Cantu, p. 5).

Concussions trigger a "complicated chain of chemical and metabolic reactions," which causes the brain to temporarily lose its ability to "…regulate,...


6). Hence, the brain goes into an "overactive state" of "hyper-alertness" which means it releases chemicals that communicate to cells in a "disorderly way" (Cantu, p. 6). Symptoms include: headaches, nausea, vomiting, problems with balance and vision, dizziness and sensitivity to light and noise; sadness and depression may also occur; sound sleep may be interrupted; and there may be difficulty in concentrating and in short-term memory (Cantu, p. 8).
Statistics on Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) / Concussions

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that between the years 2001 and 2005, an estimated 207,830 individuals visited emergency departments in the United States due to concussions and other TBIs that were linked to sports and recreational activities (CDC, 2011). Of those 207,830 patients, 65% of them were children between 5 and 18 years of age, the CDC reports. In fact younger people are more at risk for TBIs than adults are, and according to the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), between the years 2001 and 2009, an estimated 173,285 individuals under 19 years of age were treated for "nonfatal TBIs" that were connected to sports activities (CDC). The highest rates of TBIs occurred to male sports participants between the ages of 10 to 19 years, CDC reports.

As to what kinds of sports activities injuries occurred in, recreational injuries were most often "…bicycling, skating, or playground activities" (swing sets, in-line skating, bikes); and of the 453,655 emergency department visits for young people, 36,230 were head trauma injuries (CDC). Overall, the greatest number of visits to the emergency room that were TBI-related were from bicycling, football, playground activities, basketball, and soccer. Ten percent of those trauma injuries resulted from horseback…

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