Brain Injuries in Sports

Francis X. Conidi, M.D. from the Florida Center for Headache and Sports Neurology has issued a new study which examined retired NFL players for signs of traumatic brain injuries using Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI), and the results were fairly damning. The study found that over 40% of the retired NFL players had sustained a traumatic brain injury. Approximately 40 retired NFL players underwent the exam, which included a Compressive Neurological/Headache history, neurological examination, neurophysiological evaluation, Clinical Dementia Rating Scale, physiological evaluation and DTI MRI were performed. According to Dr. Conidi, this represents “one of the largest studies to date in living retired NFL players.”

Continue Reading

Presently, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) can only be diagnosed pathologically. However, there are research efforts, such as the “Understanding Neurological Injury and Traumatic Encephalopathy (UNITE) Study” that are investigating ways to diagnose CTE during an individual’s life. A recent article published in JAMA Neurology on January 4, 2016 released a case report entitled “Pathologically confirmed chronic traumatic encephalopathy in a 25-year old former college football player” by Jesse Mez, MD, MS, Todd M. Solomon, PhD, Daniel H. Daneshvar, MA,Thor D. Stein, MD, PhD, and Ann C. McKee, MD.

The case report examined a 25-year-old man with congenital bicuspid aorta valve and a family history of addiction and depression who died of a cardiac arrest secondary to staphylococcus aureus endocarditis. He had played football for sixteen years, beginning at age 6. He also played three years of Division I college football as a linebacker and special teams player, before he stopped playing football in the beginning of his junior season due to ongoing post-concussive symptoms. He had experienced over ten concussions while playing football, the first occurring at the age of 8. He had problems with headaches, neck pain, blurry vision, tinnitus, insomnia, anxiety, and difficulty with memory and concentration. He had been an excellent student in high school (3.8 GPA) and in the beginning of college. He left school with a GPA of 1.9, just twelve credits short of earning his bachelor degree.


Continue Reading

On Monday December 14, 2015, United States Representative Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) sent a blistering letter to the president of ESPN, John Skipper, regarding ESPN analyst’s recent comments attacking the protocols in place for concussions and overall making light of the seriousness of concussions. Congressman Pascrell wrote:

Dear Mr. Skipper,

I am writing to express

The American Association for Justice released a new report entitled concussions and the courthouse, which examines the role the civil justice system has played in encouraging sports leagues to not only take action to prevent concussion, but also change the way they respond to players who have suffered traumatic brain injuries.

Below are the highlights

Despite study after study demonstrating long term effects from mild traumatic brain injury (concussions), it is astounding that defense courtroom doctors still maintain that there are no permanent residuals from mild traumatic brain injury. A new studyImaging Correlates of Memory and Concussion History in Retired National Football League Athletes, published in JAMA Neurology

A new study conducted by researchers from Boston University found that children who sustained a concussion/mild traumatic brain injury prior to the age of 12 had a greater risk of later-life cognitive impairment.  Robert A. Stern, Ph.D. and colleagues at Boston University conducted a study to “determine the relationship between exposure to repeated head impacts

It was recently reported that King-Devick Tests, Inc. has developed a quick and effective screening tool for the evaluation of concussion.  The tests, to be called the King-Devick Test, according to the manufacturer, is a “quick‑accurate and objective concussion screening tool that can be administered on the sidelines by parents, coaches, athletic trainers, school nurses,

Following a concussion, patients are instructed to rest for twenty-four to forty-eight hours beginning any type of return to normal activities.  Many doctors recommend an even longer period of rest so as to reduce the risk of re-injury during recovery from the concussion.  Some clinicians even advocate “cocoon therapy” which “restricts patients to several days

A new study out of the University of Colorado-Denver found that regardless of the location of impact of high school football players who sustained a concussion, there was no difference in the outcome. Researchers, noting that “little research has examined concussion outcomes in terms of impact location (i.e., the area on the head in which the impact occurred), utilized the National High Schools Sports-Related Injury Surveillance Study dated between 2008/2009-2012/2013 to calculate rates and describe circumstances of football concussion (e.g., symptomatology, symptom resolution time, return to play) resulting from player-to-player collisions by impact location.”
Continue Reading