It’s Not Just Football


With the recent NFL suicides and the focus on the exposure of football players and their exposure to multiple brain injuries, we need to remain mindful that there are other sports which have a high potential for concussive brain injuries. Certainly ice hockey comes to mind with the high velocity collisions, fighting and other impacts of the game. We also have the potential for brain injuries related to the practice of “heading” in soccer. In 2002, Jeffrey Astle, a formidable British header, died from degenerative brain disease, consistent with the symptoms of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy or C.T.E. that we have seen the brains of the NFL players. The recent studies of brain injury and soccer highlighted the “heading drills” as a potential culprit rather than game itself. But, let’s not leave out lacrosse and rugby or any sport in which there could be an impact to the head or “whiplash” type of injury.
Coaches need to be aware of the risks and receive training in minimizing the potential for concussive injuries. The CDC publishes as an excellent guide for coaches and sports-related brain injury prevention kits are available through the Brain Injury Association of America and the state BIA chapters.
We know that sports are great for kids, but let’s see what we can do to minimize the risks and prevent brain injuries.

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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