The players in the world of sports put their lives in the hands of others, they are dare devils and they love what they do. Regular sports such as basketball, baseball and football do not usually echo the danger most extreme sports have. Still, serious injuries and a head concussion is a huge risk in the sports arena. The chosen career of many talented athletes that are paid the big bucks for their efforts, may result in suffering a lifetime of aches and pains. It is not always fun and games, trophies and rings for the victims of life changing injuries. They can earn stardom and fame and be recognized around the world, but their huge paycheck might end up going towards future medical costs.
Recently, Brett Favre, football star of the Green Bay Packers and the St. Louis Rams, admitted to having severe memory loss. Favre, age 44, suffered several concussions during his football career. He may not have completely healed from a concussion as he went on to play the rest of the game. The after effects of a concussion can be traumatizing as the brain struggles to catch up. Concussions occur when an impact causes the brain to smash against the skull. The person can still be conscious and in the moment, thinking they are fully capable of continuing the activity they were engaged in.
The Center for Disease Control reports an alarming amount of concussions each year between 1.5 million and 3.8 million. These include all types of concussions. Many are in fact sports related, but the figures also include car accidents and falls, as well as domestic abuse. Any time the brain meets the skull, it is a serious occurrence. The first symptoms of a concussion usually are dizziness, headache, nausea and slurred speech. The patient should be watched closely and also needs to recover fully before resuming regular activity.
Concerning football, a lawsuit was brought by former NFL players to address the issue with compensation. The negotiations proved somewhat satisfying, but only went back to include players up to 2006. In the end, a $765 million settlement was split up between injured players on a sliding scale. Many outcomes that have resulted from football injuries have caused brain damage, including depression and suicidal thoughts or actions. The lingering effects of a concussion can be present for a lifetime, and may include memory loss, sleep disorders, balance issues and the loss of senses, such as taste and smell.
Football players are not the only ones to suffer a sports related concussion. While the speed of impact of a football is estimated at 25 m.p.h., boxers are prone to the injury as well with an impact speed of 20 m.p.h. Soccer players are at most risk if a ball comes crashing on their head at a rate of up to 70 m.p.h. Helmets do not always protect the skull and brain as much as they are designed to do. A concussion is a huge risk in the sports arena, and should not be taken lightly. A star player may just have to sit out, even if they think they can keep playing. The wise discernment of the coach or trainer needs to be acknowledged and taken seriously.
Ongoing issues may worsen over time resulting in CTE. CTE stands for Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, and is not always cured. While broken bones usually heal, the brain is a delicate and complex organ that may or may not heal completely. Making the big bucks in sports may be needed in the long run and the road to recovery is not always worth the fame and glory.
By Roanne H. FitzGibbon