TBI: The Effects of Concussions on Athletes

The frequency and intensity at which athletes are sustaining traumatic brain injuries (TBI), commonly referred to as concussions, is rapidly increasing as the years progress. A TBI can be caused by any blow or bump to the head and/or skull that causes a change in brain function. Some of the risk factors associated with a TBI include: duration of playing time, evidence of previous head trauma, correct placement of protective gear, and the intensity at which a sport is played. With boxers and football players at the top of the list of athletes with concussions, therapists and researchers are beginning to take a closer look into the adverse effects sports have on an athlete cognitively and neurologically. It is estimated that approximately 20% of high school, collegiate, and professional boxers and football players suffer from a TBI at least once during the season. According to recent studies, 1 in 15 players with a TBI will have an additional TBI within the same season. Ultimately these successive injuries impair the recovery of cognitive and neurological abilities.

An individual with a TBI will suffer from a loss of consciousness resulting in complications such as headaches, a shortened attention span, trouble focusing, mood swings, and emotional outbursts. The result of sustaining successive TBIs can include limb impairment, difficulty speaking, or an inability to think critically. Athletes who are suspected of being concussed may experience prolonged anger, rage, and appear to be more violent and aggressive than normal. Additionally, tests such as the imPACT test can be run to ensure that an individual is performing cognitive tasks at a normal pace. These tests measure a person’s reaction speed and visual/verbal memory. It is encouraged that persons sustaining concussions receive medical attention immediately so that the individual’s symptoms do not escalate.

If you believe that you or a loved one has or may have been affected by a traumatic brain injury, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling can help you. Contact our Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan offices respectively at (201)-368-3700 or (212)-722-1920 to set up an appointment. Visit http://www.acenterfortherapy.com for more information.

Sources: ninds.nih.gov

By: Alexis F.


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