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Articles Tagged with concussion

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young driverPeople who are driving after recovering from a concussion may be at higher risk of a car accident. A recent study lead by Julianne Schmidt, associate professor in the UGA College of Education’s department of kinesiology shows that despite being asymptomatic, people who recently suffered concussion may drive erratically. The study was recently published in the Journal of Neurotrauma.

During the study, Julianne Schmidt and her team compared the driving skills of 14 students who suffered concussion but were symptom free with the driving skills of 14 students who didn’t suffer from concussion. Participants were required to to complete a graded symptom checklist and a neuropsychological exam. Participants with concussion were asked to take a 20.5 km driving test within 48 hours of becoming asymptomatic. Healthy participants of the same age were required to complete the same driving test.

The study showed that participants who previously suffered concussion but were cleared of symptoms exhibited driving behavior similar to someone driving under the influence of alcohol.  The researchers compared the number of crashes between the two groups of students as well as the number of tickets, the number of lane excursion, the way they were driving in curves and their speed. They found out that concussed participants were not well controlling their vehicles especially when driving in the curves. They also swerved a lot more than healthy drivers putting themselves and other road users at a greater risk of accidents.

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will smithNFL players who suffer repetitive traumatic brain injury during their career have a high risk to develop Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).  CTE  is a progressive degenerative disease. Individuals affected by CTE often show symptoms of dementia such as loss of memory, confusion, depression and aggression.

Dr. Bennet Omalu, now the chief medical examiner, San Joaquin County in California, was one of the first doctors to detect CTE in NFL player’s brains.  Thirteen years ago as he was working at the Allegheny County Coroner’s Office in Pittsburgh he autopsied Mike Webster, a Hall of Fame center for the Steelers. Webster became so mentally ill that he ended up living in his pick up truck. During a dementia crisis, he pulled out his teeth and glued them back with superglue. He also shocked himself with a taser on a regular basis.

malu found that Webster’s brain was riddled with dark tangles of tau protein, which he explained had choked Webster from the inside out. He identified the condition as CTE and attribuDuring the autopsy, Dr Oted it to the estimated 70,000 hits to the head that Webster endured during his career. Dr Omalu then examined other players such as Terry Long, Justin Strezelczyk and Andre Waters and found they were afflicted by the same condition. When he showed the results of his research to the NFL they  publicly ridiculed him and intimidated him calling him a quack.

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cme-concussion-2015-std-canonicalEvery day students from elementary school to college are sustaining concussions during sport or playground activities.  A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that can affect the student’s cognitive, physical emotional and sleep functions.  Recent research has shown that knowledge of a concussion’s potential effects on a student and appropriate management of the return-to-school process is critical for helping students recover from a concussion.  Clinicians and school personnel who are  are involved in the management of care for students with concussion can attend a one day conference on this subject organized on May 9th by the Children Hospital of Philadelphia. Click here for more info and to register. For detailed information on Traumatic Brain Injury see the CDC related web page.