New Jersey patients may be interested in research that investigates the effects of head trauma caused by injuries during contact sports such as football. While previous research focused on concussions, Stanford University researchers examined injuries caused by smaller hits along the inside of the skull. The study determined that even small brain injuries can have large cumulative effects over time.
Each year, 1.7 million people in the United States receive a traumatic brain injury diagnosis. It was discovered 80 percent of those people had mild injuries with symptoms such as dizziness and headaches. Severe trauma was found to be only one cause of such mild injuries. Researchers realized that the inertia of the brain slamming against the inside of the skull when the head stops quickly causes traumatic brain injury as well. The exact amount of force and damage caused by brain inertia was unknown until one study used MRI data to examine brain movement in the skull.
A small study among three patients examined the frequency at which the brain moves inside the skull. A statistical model was used alongside the physical experiments to determine the cycles per second the brain reaches when rattling around inside the skull. Data showed that the brain could sustain damage at a rate of 15 hertz, while the typical rate is 5 hertz for standard movements such as turning the head quickly. Contact sports produce movements of up to 20 hertz, and this damage can happen multiple times over the duration of a game.
From high school athletes to professional football players, athletes involved in contact sports may be at an increased risk for traumatic brain injury. Brain injuries can have serious long-term consequences, from impaired cognitive functioning to other neurological symptoms. A personal injury lawyer may be able to provide representation for brain injury patients and help them recover damages for medical costs, lost wages and long-term care costs.
Source: Popular Science, “Even Tiny Bumps to Your Brain Can Cause Trauma Over Time,” Alexandra Ossola, June 9, 2015