According to an article from the PBS website, “Inside the Numbers: Counting Concussions in the NFL,” in 2012 more than 100 players in the the league suffered concussions on a weekly basis, just in training camp. Compared to data from reports in 2009, the number of concussions in the NFL increased by nearly 68 percent in 2012. The NFL averaged 5.4 concussions per week in 2009, 7.6 in 2010 and a staggering 8.4 in 2011.
Although the average age of an NFL player is 25, the career-path to professional football often begins in middle school. Therefore, athletes as young as 11-years-old are committing to a future with brain injuries. Concussions happen early and often to football players. Despite new research and a major motion picture, young men continue to play football. By doing so they are at increased risk of developing constant headaches and migraines, the onset of CTE (chronic trauma encephalopathy), and even degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Headaches and migraines due to concussions, can become chronic and debilitating. With each additional concussion, the severity of the brain injury increases. Headaches develop into more than an Advil moment. What causes these headaches? A concussion occurs when the brain slams against the inside of your skull. There is fluid in your skull that surrounds and protects the brain, but can be surpassed when a hard enough hit is dealt (i.e. head to head contact in the NFL).
When the brain...
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...ecease symptoms can be almost identical to those of people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease; having heavily impaired cognitive movement and even signs of dementia. In Olson and Grossberg’s study comparing data of those who had CTE; approximately 31% of subjects studied who were in stage 4 had contemplated suicide; of those, 26% had "suicidal tendencies" and 14% completed suicide.
Junior Seau is one of the tragic examples of someone who committed suicide after suffering from brain disease. According to the L.A. Times, after the All-Pro linebacker’s brain was studied after his death and it was found that Seau had abnormalities in the brain similar to those seen in the brains with CTE.
With headaches, migraines, onset CTE and sometimes even early signs of Alzheimer’s, concussions have several long term effects and they can all haunt you for the span of your life.
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