Football players found to have brain damage from mild 'unreported' concussions
There wasn't a diagnostic capability to identify mild brain injury early after the trauma until recently. In the NFL, other professional sports and especially school sports, concern has grown about the long-term neuropsychiatric consequences of repeated mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI) and specifically sports-related concussive and sub-concussive head impacts.
The paper, published by researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and Soroka University Medical Center, describes a new diagnostic approach using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) for detection and localization of vascular pathology and blood-brain barrier breakdown in football players.
The MRIs were given between games during the season and revealed significant damage.
Forty percent of the examined football players with unreported concussions had evidence of "leaky BBB" compared to 8.3 percent of the control athletes.
The authers said "Generally, players return to the game long before the brain's physical healing is complete, which could exacerbate the possibility of brain damage later in life".
The blood-brain barrier (BBB), plays a key role in brain dysfunction and degeneration, and may be an underlying cause of neurodegenerative complications after brain injuries.
The BBB is a highly selective permeable membrane that separates circulating blood from extracellular fluid. It protects the brain by preventing many dangerous substances from penetrating, and therefore is not meant to be damaged.
It is important especially at School football games that an independent professional First Aid/Medic be available and have the authority to stop a player from re-entering the game if a head injury is suspected.
Understandably the player thinks they are OK and want to get back in the action however, as a Medic I have seen some coaches and even parents wanting children who have had an obvious serious head injury to return to the game.
These injuries can effect our children's future lets look after them
Itai Weissberg, et al. Imaging Blood-Brain Barrier Dysfunction in Football Players. JAMA Neurology, 2014
#head injury #concussion #sport #football #medic