Essays Football Concussions

(The latest guidelines suggest that most concussed subjects require at least 10 days to recover, with adolescents generally needing a few days more.) While the brain is restoring itself, people suffer from a long list of side effects, which are intended to keep them from thinking too hard.

Bright lights are painful; memory is fragile and full of holes; focus is impossible. In the aftermath of a traumatic brain injury, the brain remains extremely fragile. Teenagers are especially susceptible to these mass cellular suicides.

The stadiums will still be full on Sunday, the professionals will still play, the profits will continue. The sickness will be rooted in football’s tragic flaw, which is that it inflicts concussions on its players with devastating frequency.

Although estimates vary, several studies suggest that up to 15 percent of football players suffer a mild traumatic brain injury during the season.

According to Mc Kee, this is the earliest evidence of CTE ever recorded.

For instance, a 2009 study commissioned by the NFL found that former players between the ages of 30 and 49 were being diagnosed with severe memory-related diseases at approximately nineteen times the rate of the general population.The scientists describe these symptoms as “neural precursors,” warning signs that something in the head has gone seriously wrong.This research builds on previous work documenting the hazards of football for the teenage brain. There is no bodily metaphor for what happens when the Jell-O of cortex accelerates into the skull.(The frontal lobes are responsible for many higher cognitive functions, such as self-control and abstract reasoning.The immaturity of these areas helps explain the immaturity of teenagers.) In recent years, neuroscientists have documented the effect of these blows over time.The worst possible outcome is a disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.For decades, this disorder was only associated with former boxers — its original name was “dementia pugilistica,” or “punch drunk” disease. At the moment, CTE can only be diagnosed postmortem, after the cortex is dissected.Mater Dei High School is a football powerhouse, with two national championships and nine California state titles.Set amid the suburban grid of Orange County, the school has drawn talented recruits for decades, including two Heisman trophy winners. " Because of its national reputation — and extremely well-funded athletic department — Mater Dei has been on the leading edge of concussion prevention and treatment for high school football players.While data compiled from the Head Impact Telemetry System, or HITS, captures the extreme physical forces at work during a football game — it’s not uncommon for a player to sustain hits equivalent to the impact of a 25 mph car crash — there is no clear threshold for injury.The mind remains a black box; nobody really understands why it breaks. In the milliseconds after a concussion, there is a sudden release of neurotransmitters as billions of brain cells turn themselves on at the exact same time.

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