High-Tech Head Injury: Changes In The Diagnosis, Prevention And Treatment Of Concussions

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are also known as concussions, and they're big news in the sports world. Due to concussions, college and pro players are frequently forced out of play, and later forced to endure other issues related to their concussions. Parents of football players are concerned, and sports leagues are facing the possibility of increased liability for long-term damage to players from head injuries.

The good news is that coaches and players are more aware of the dangers of concussions. Soon, all sports should begin to see reductions in the numbers of concussions, if programs and technology work as planned.

The NFL's program is already working

This season, the NFL has released data indicating that reported concussions are down 25% this past season, even with increased injury reporting overall.

Officials credit changes that have been made to reduce the numbers of concussive injuries, which include reduced practice times and new limits on hitting with the crown of the helmet.

Most concussive injuries were caused by helmet-to-helmet or helmet-to-shoulder contact. Clearly, the NFL's efforts are making a difference and should be modeled by football leagues everywhere.

Researchers continue to engineer protective equipment to further reduce the number of concussions.

There are new techniques being developed to diagnose concussions.

From eye-tracking technology to blood tests , researchers are working to develop tests to measure the degree of damage done to delicate brain tissue by traumatic brain injury.

They are studying ways to determine how long a player may be sidelined, and methods to measure the degree of previous concussion events.

Technology is also helping measure the level of impact players receive on the field, further helping alert coaches and players to injuries that should be examined by a physician.

Research is showing players how to reduce risks.

Some teams are using eye training while others are using neck-strengthening exercises to reduce the risk of concussion.

One of the best ways to protect players is to continually stress the importance of reporting symptoms of concussions, even if it means they may be pulled from play. Studies show that players tend to minimize their injuries.

Parents, coaches and sports medicine professionals should encourage young players to recognize and report any suspected head trauma as soon as possible.

With proper training, advanced technology and treatment, head injury should become rare in team sports. No player should have to give up sports due to TBI. Have other questions? Contact a professional such as Dr. Lisa M. Schoene to learn more.