WHAT IT IS
Concussions are "a type of traumatic brain injury" that occurs from "a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth." [Mayo Clinc]
According to the CDC, "sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, creating chemical changes in the brain and sometimes stretching and damaging brain cells." [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]
Recent studies reveal the damaging effects of concussions, which have sparked debate over the safety of contact sports. [USAToday]
Some are calling to ban football from high schools, due to the increased risk of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). [The Concussion Foundation]
Neuroscientists suggest preventing students from playing football until at least age 14. [USAToday]
SIDE EFFECTS of a CONCUSSION
Severe pain. Can be continuous or intermittent
Poor balance, blackout, fatigue, ears ringing, sensitivity to light
Imbalances can cause difficulty falling asleep or difficulty staying awake (chronic fatigue)
Mental confusion, disorientation, mild depression, irritability
WHY IT MATTERS
Repeated concussions can lead to long-term brain damage such as the breakdown of brain tissue, memory loss, depression, anxiety, diminished impulse control, and/or death. [National Institutes of Health]
Education and training
It’s important to raise awareness on the subject, but some believe it is not necessary to prevent students from playing certain sports. [ABC News]
Some believe we should retrain or properly educate athletes to tackle without head contact.
Some argue that football is "mild," compared to skiing, skateboarding, equestrian, and even bicycling. And if we start banning football, what is next? [ABC News]
Some believe that the increase in concussions in recent years is due to increased awareness, not increased injury.
WHERE WE ARE NOW
Some members of Congress consider the issue a “matter of public health.” [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]
Concussions rates appear to have increased during the 2018-2019 season, with a higher rate for injury on Thursday night. [The Washington Post]
New training programs have been introduced to encourage safer practices on the field.