TBI and Sports Go Hand-in-Hand November 28, 2009.

Traumatic brain injury is popping up in the news more and more these days in association with high-contact sports.

It used to be that most people associated traumatic brain injury with car accidents or slip and falls. These days, however, it is occurring more often when people are playing sports. This isn’t too much of a surprise as traditionally boxing has indeed been a sport associated with a high degree of minor concussions (traumatic brain injuries) on a smaller scale.

Nowadays the spotlight is focused on hockey, football, soccer and other sports that see hard hits and even harder falls. In either case, the brain stands a high likelihood of being rattled around inside the skull and leaving the individual confused and dazed. Interestingly enough, many of these "mini-concussions" are going undiagnosed and over the course of a season, the player may suffer multiple traumatic brain injuries.

Another interesting fact is also beginning to emerge as professionals study this particular phenomenon. It seems that people who have already experienced at least one concussion are more susceptible to getting further, similar injuries during other playing seasons. The reason for this doesn’t seem to be entirely clear, but the theory is that once the brain has been shaken up badly enough, it doesn’t take much to disturb it again if it sustains a thump.

While these "smaller" concussions are often referred to as mild, the fact is if they happen often enough, multiple concussions are linked to dementia and other neurological diseases later in life. One of the more classic cases is boxer Muhammad Ali, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s syndrome in 1984, a result of the frequent concussions he sustained during his fighting career.

In addition, a report commissioned by the National Football League in the U.S. shows that former football players were struck down by Alzheimer’s or other memory-related diseases at an astonishing rate of 19 times the norm for men between 30 and 49 years of age. Sobering statistics to say the least and it poses the question of what will happen to the younger players coming up through the ranks.

It should go without saying that those who sustain a concussion during rough sports need to have "more" attention paid to them and a very thorough medical evaluation, mild concussion or not. The fact of the matter is that any blow to the head could be dangerous now and in the future. More particularly, cumulative concussions have the potential to alter a person’s life by bringing on dementia a lot earlier in life.

Does having helmets and/or the right safety gear play a role in reducing head injuries? This is one of the questions that should be discussed with a skilled personal injury lawyer if you have been the victim of a head trauma that may have been avoided if you had been provided and were wearing the right safety gear.