Concussions in Football
It’s that time of the year again. The weather gets cooler, the classrooms get fuller, and the Friday night lights get brighter. As the football season starts back up, so does the risk for concussions. Over the past few years, football players both high school and high stakes have become very susceptible to concussions, putting them at risk for Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, more commonly known as CTE.
CTE is a brain disease commonly found in athletes with a medical history of repetitive head tr
auma. The disease is caused by a protein in the brain called Tau forming lumps that spread through the rest of the brain. According to the Concussion Foundation, early symptoms of the disease include impulse control issues, aggression, depression, and paranoia. As CTE progresses over the years, patients experience problems with thinking and memory.
Although current protective equipment is not effective enough to totally protect football players from head trauma, there are two main and practical preventative methods that can be taken to lessen the chances of CTE:
- Wear proper equipment during games and practice.
- Studies show that football helmets reduce the risk of traumatic brain injury by about 20 percent.
- Do neck-strengthening exercises
- Spending a few minutes biweekly to build up neck muscles is key to preventing major head trauma. This is because muscles in the neck dissipate the force of head collisions and rapid head rotations, which is the cause many concussions. Football players should spend time researching different exercises.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for CTE itself; however, there are many studies around CTE dedicated to finding a cure. Hopefully, in the years ahead, these studies will come to a successful conclusion. Until then, all football players should take caution when it comes to protecting their heads.