Brain experts develop game plan for football concussions
Posted Mar 27 2010 12:00am
Just found this:
If international expert Robert Cantu had his druthers, football teams would practice without helmets.
That would be the best way to teach players to avoid head-to-head collisions, utilize their shoulders and bodies more in contact, protect against the concussions and later-life brain maladies the brutal game creates at rates such scientists find alarming.
The same notion would apply for players from preps to pros, too.
“There may be one day a week you put them on,” Dr. Cantu said Friday in the first of a two-day, Duquesne University seminar entitled “Is Football Bad for the Brain?”
Dr. Cantu is a noted neurosurgeon and co-founder of the Boston-area Sports Legacy Institute that has helped to lead the NFL’s recent reform movement through its study of long-term brain damage in middle-aged or older athletes.
“Keep them off, so you don’t use your head as a battering ram,” said Dr. Cantu.
. . .
Also on the first day of the seminar, presented by the Cyril H. Wecht Institute of Forensic Science and Law:
• Dr. Cantu revealed his research found that a fatal form of follow-up concussion, called Second Impact Syndrome that kills three to four high-school players annually, can be detected by a CAT scan. Sports-related brain injuries never before revealed themselves in imaging.
• His co-worker at the Sports Legacy Institute, Dr. Ann McKee, announced the finding of another protein TDP43 that causes degeneration in the brains of such older athletes diagnosed with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, the disease that results from a history of head trauma. The protein called tau also does that.
• Dr. Maroon’s research echoed Dr. Bailes’: Gobble up Omega 3 fatty acids, and they may help to prevent and cure the inflammation of a traumatic brain injury.
“Quite frankly, I think everybody should be on it,” said Dr. Maroon, who was part of a January 2009 study in which an NFL team showed reduced cardiovascular risk factors when regularly ingesting them
He proposed downing 2 to 3 grams of such fatty acids as DHA or EPA daily. “I think it’s like Vitamin B it’s a natural anti-inflammatory.”
Interesting, that they’re talking about Omega-3 fatty acids. I’ve been taking them for (I think) about a year, and that may be one of the things that’s really helped me. I haven’t taken 2-3 grams (more like 1,200 mg, or 1.2 grams). But I have been taking some.
Between that and my daily exercise, I’ve seen a big difference between how my brain functions now and how it functioned just a year ago. It’s also helped that I’ve been getting regular help from my neuropsych, and that I’ve had some really great breakthroughs in how I perceive my life and my place in it.
I only wish I had known about this, when I’d had my last head injury. For that matter, I wish I’d realized that I’d had a head injury, which affected me as much as it did.
Oh, well. I guess progress is better late than never. And I’m glad to see the football community getting on board with addressing concussion.