While there has been a lot of media and medical attention in regards to traumatic brain injury related to football boxing or other contact sports, there are other sports that have a high risk of TBI.
A recent article in the New York Times looks at traumatic brain injury caused by skeleton, the headfirst Olympic sledding sport. Skeleton is very popular in Canada. In 2010 when Canada hosted the Olympic games, skeleton athletes thought they had a great advantage as they had early access to the track and could train for unlimited time. Instead many of them are still suffering from the long term consequences of traumatic brain injuries caused by over training.
Mellissa Hollingsworth was one of the favorite skeleton competitors this year. She recalls taking as many as 11 runs a day on the Whistler track that was specifically built for the Olympic games and was the fastest in the word. At the end of a training day, her brain was scrambled. She could not tolerate noises and she could barely speak. At the time, skeleton athletes were experiencing mental fog, headache, speech inability, loss of appetite and high sensibility to sound. They thought it was part of the training routine like sore muscles or fatigue and just casually called it “sled head”. Now years later they are still suffering from the consequences of over training, repetitive shaking and crashing head first on icy surfaces.