Football Highlights Concerns About Multiple Mild Brain Injuries

Concussions while playing football—they just sort of go with the territory, right? Maybe, but there could be dangers in that territory that don’t always get the attention they deserve. While many people might not give a lot of thought to head injuries and football—the rough and tumble nature of the contact sport lends itself to such blows—the
Football Head Injuries
consequences of multiple hits to the head can be far-reaching. Several studies have shown that repetitive mild traumatic brain injuries (MTBIs), often called concussions, can cause patients to suffer from permanent brain damage if the injury is not evaluated and they don’t allow themselves enough time to heal before getting back to their normal routine.

Recently, 75 former professional football players filed a lawsuit against the NFL claiming that the league concealed information on the harmful effects of concussions since the 1920s. The football players’ suit suggests that the NFL was aware of the fact that repeated blows to the head can have serious long-term consequences like memory loss, dementia, depression, and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), but did little to warn players or protect them against the risks. They believe that, as a result, former players have been cleared to play too soon following head injuries, have experienced varied levels of brain trauma, and in some cases, have even died.

The lawsuit isn’t the only thing drawing attention to the risks of multiple brain injuries in the world of football. Former football player Dorsey Levens is working on a documentary called Bell Rung in which players discuss the injuries and debilitating conditions they’ve experienced during and after their days on the field; concussions are a main topic of conversation. There’s also the sad story of David Deurson’s recent suicide and his request to have his brain donated and studied to see what connection could be found between brain disease and football players. Scientists ultimately found that Deurson’s brain was the 14th of the 15 footballers’ brains studied to have CTE, a dementia-like brain disease.

The discussion taking place off the football field about what’s happening on it is critical for the well being of the players. Additionally, the conversations highlight the larger issue surrounding multiple mild brain injuries and the major impact they can have on individuals’ brain functioning. Keep in mind that the severity of an accident does not determine the level of injury to the brain—any impact, large or small, can have serious consequences.  The term “mild brain injury” can be misleading, so even if you’ve experienced what seems to be a minor head injury, make sure you get checked out so that you can be treated and monitored properly. While you should also do your best to guard against any additional brain injuries, it’s not always easy to avoid them—this is especially true in situations where repeat injuries are more common (for example, with members of the military serving overseas). That being the case, it’s important that each injury receives appropriate medical attention and evaluation so that long-term damage can be minimized as much as possible…and so that you can still enjoy tossing the ol’ pigskin around whenever it suits you.

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Popular football video game, Madden 12, tackles concussions and addresses safety in the latest version:

About Rolf Gainer Ph.D.

Dr. Rolf Gainer is the founder of the Neurologic Rehabilitation Institute at Brookhaven Hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma as well as the Neurological Rehabilitation Institute of Ontario, in Toronto, Canada. Dr. Gainer is a psychologist with more than twenty-five years of experience in the treatment and rehabilitation of individuals with brain injuries and a dual diagnosis. Dr. Gainer has designed and operated innovative rehabilitation programs in the United States and Canada for individuals who have been regarded as difficult to serve. He is currently involved in conducting two outcome studies related to the long-term issues faced by individuals with brain injuries and a dual diagnosis. He has presented papers throughout the United States and Canada in many professional conferences and educational forums.

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3 Responses to Football Highlights Concerns About Multiple Mild Brain Injuries

  1. George Visger August 27, 2011 at 12:22 am #

    As an ex NFL DT with an Orange Bowl ring, Super Bowl ring and survivor of 9 NFL caused emergency VP Shunt brain surgeries I am offering myself to anyone who can use the 30 years of data I have collected living with a TBI and resultant hydrocephalus.

    1. NFL players speak up against brain trauma (56%)
    08/19/2011 – George Visger, a member of the 49ers’ 1982 Super Bowl team, once carried a playbook. Now he carries a notebook wherever he goes because he can’t remember the simplest things. He scribbles down every similar results

    By Mark Emmons memmons@mercurynews.com

    San Jose Mercury News 082111
    http://www.mercurynews.com/

    CNN 072011 – Player Says NFL Abandoned Him
    http://inthearena.blogs.cnn.com/2011/07/20/ex-player-nfl-abandoned-me-after-injury/

    More pension coverage sought for ex-NFLers – CBS News
    Jul 19, 2011 … CBS Evening News .. For two seasons, George Visger gave pretty much everything he had …
    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/07/19/eveningnews/main20080853.shtml – 87k – Cached – Similar pages

    CBS EVENING NEWS
    http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/story/15331292/smith-keeps-word-to-improve-lot-of-nfl-retirees

    Kenneth P Stoller · Friends with Caroline Vestal
    Here is the link to the peer-reviewed article published in Medical Gas Research about George’s experience with hyperbaric oxygen…. thank you George for leading the way: http://www.medicalgasresea

    rch.com/content/pdf/2045-9

    912-1-17.pdf

    NCTV Interviews-The Silent Epidemic Part 3 (B)
    http://blip.tv/dashboard/episode/5321400

    Sac News and Review Cover story
    http://www.newsreview.com/sacramento/content?oid=1317643

    NPR: A Brain, A Life, Battered by Football
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=114059228#commentBlock

    NFL’s forgotten men take, and earned, center stage

    By Mike Freeman
    CBSSports.com National Columnist
    July 2, 2011
    Tell Mike your opinion!
    If you want to understand the raw emotions an army of debilitated former NFL players feel, emotions that are also figuring into — and possibly stalling — the current labor talks, please read what former San Francisco 49er George Visger has to say.

    CBS Sports 070311
    http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/story/15288708/nfls-forgotten-men-take-and-have-earned-center-stage

    View the Dissident NFL Retirees’ Washington Press Conference at Dave Pear’s Blog « Chris & Nancy: … by IRVIN MUCHNICK
    June 26th, 2011 at 9:14 AM #
    [...] Two days ago I posted comments by one-time San Francisco 49er Super Bowler George Visger, who has lived for nearly three decades with a crippling head injury. Visger was part of the delegation speaking on June 20 at the National Press Club in Washington in support of the lawsuit led by ex-Minnesota Viking great Carl Eller. Dave Pear, who heads the best-organized group of National Football League retirees lobbying for better pension and disability benefits, has posted the video at http://davepear.com/blog/2011/06/retired-football-players-june-20th-press-conference/. [...]

    Eller vs NFL Press Conf 062011 Wa DC
    NFL Hall of Famers speak out against poor benefits « Jeff Nixon Report
    NFL Hall of Famers speak out against poor benefits. Jun 21. Posted by Jeff Nixon · Associated Press Monday, June 20, 2011. WASHINGTON (AP) – A group of NFL …
    blog.nflalumniassociation.com/…/nfl-hall-of-famers-speak-out-against-poor- benefits/

    NCTV Sports TBI 062511
    http://www.facebook.com/?sk=inbox&action=read&tid=7e3d312241b84f359ac14f156f8bebc7

    Smith Keep Word – Visger Doubts It
    http://www.cbssports.com/#%21/nfl/story/15331292/smith-keeps-word-to-improve-lot-of-nfl-retirees

    Video Link Retired Players Conference
    http://media.causes.com/1092218?s=cause

    NFL HBOT link
    http://www.westcoastmarketingpartners.com/nfl/index.html

    First Annual Independent Football Veterans Conference
    http://www.ifvconference.com/blog/speakers/
    http://www.ifvconference.com/blog/topics/

    George Visger
    SF 49ers 80 & 81
    Survivor of 9 NFL Caused Emergency VP Shunt Brain Surgeries
    Benefactor of ZERO NFL Benefits

  2. George Visger August 29, 2011 at 10:37 pm #

    If they don’t begin to take concussions more seriously, you will see more and more players end up like myself. I played for the 49ers in 80 & 81 when I developed hydrocephalus and underwent emergency VP shunt brain surgery. I am now 52 and have survived 9 emergency shunt surgeries and several gran mal seizures, in addition dealing with early onset dementia.

    It’s time they quit making a joke of “getting your bell rung”. Having your brain slam into the skull hard enough to cause swelling and bleeding is no joke.
    I know.

    1. NFL players speak up against brain trauma (56%)
    08/19/2011 – George Visger, a member of the 49ers’ 1982 Super Bowl team, once carried a playbook. Now he carries a notebook wherever he goes because he can’t remember the simplest things. He scribbles down every similar results
    http://www.mercurynews.com/

    By Mark Emmons memmons@mercurynews.com

    CNN 072011 – Player Says NFL Abandoned Him
    http://inthearena.blogs.cnn.com/2011/07/20/ex-player-nfl-abandoned-me-after-injury/

    More pension coverage sought for ex-NFLers – CBS News
    Jul 19, 2011 … CBS Evening News .. For two seasons, George Visger gave pretty much everything he had …
    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/07/19/eveningnews/main20080853.shtml – 87k – Cached similar pages

    George Visger
    SF 49ers 80 & 81
    Survivor of 9 NFL Caused Emergency VP Shunt Brain Surgeries
    Benefactor of ZERO NFL Benefits

  3. DudekLawFirm October 31, 2011 at 10:30 am #

    I agree with George. It’s time announcers quit using phrases like “getting your bell rung.” This type of commentary shadows the actual dangers of playing football. Although more and more athletic programs are dedicating attention to such misconceptions and taking proper precautions, we all have to do our part to educate the public on this subject. http://bit.ly/sLW8pV

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