Traumatic Brain Injury: The Most Frequent Cause of Disability in America

Traumatic Brain Injury: The Most Frequent Cause of Disability in America

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According to the Brain Injury Association of America (2010), traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the most frequent cause of disability and death among children and adolescents in the United States of America. Approximately 300,000 sports-related brain injuries occur on a yearly basis (Thurman & Guerrero, 1999). Repeated mild brain injuries over an extended period of time could result in neurological and cognitive deficits (Center for Disease and Prevention Control, 2005). Due to these potential long-term ramifications and the increasing rates of concussions, lawmakers have proposed federal and state laws in order to protect the well being of student athletes.
Literature relevant to the implementation of the concussion law in New Jersey and the potential dangers associated with not implementing such laws will be reviewed. Brain anatomy and the brain’s vulnerability to concussion, the impact of Post Concussion Syndrome (PCS), and the risk of even more debilitating conditions, such as Second Impact Syndrome (SIS) and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) will also be reviewed. It is extremely important to understand the effects of concussion on the brain, because the type of injury and magnitude of injury could lead to particular cognitive or neurological deficits, which in turn impacts return-to-play decisions.
Concussion in high-school athletes
McKeveer and Schatz (2003) reported that more than 5% of high school athletes sustain concussion each year while participating in interscholastic sports. Numerous studies have reported that the occurrence in high school athletes is more frequent than in older athletes (Lovell, Collins, Iverson, Johnston, & Bradley, 2004; Webbe, & Barth, 2003). Webbe and Barth (2003) identified the immatu...

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...y State Legislation
Governor Christie signed the New Jersey Concussion Law in December 2010. The law mandates that New Jersey school districts develop a written model policy that outlines protocols to ensure the safety of student athletes. The law requires that by the start of the 2011-2012 scholastic year: (a) all coaches, school nurses, and team physicians complete a head injury safety training program (b) all schools provide an educational sheet to all students athletes and obtain written consent from the student athletes and their parents (c) any student athlete who is suspected of having sustained a concussion be removed from play and, (4) the athlete will not return to competition until they receive a clearance from an individual who is trained in concussion treatment and is in compliance with the athlete’s school district (New Jersey Concussion Law, 2010).

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