Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), also known as concussion, has been getting a lot of press recently. Soccer player Mia Hamm, who has had numerous incidents, announced that after her death her brain will be donated for research so doctors can fully assess the damage. President Barack Obama has said that if he had a son he would not let him play professional football because of the risk. The degenerative disease, which is common among athletes who play contact sports, leads to deterioration in attention and to progressive dementia. Earlier this year the Marin County Civil Grand Jury recommended that schools take extra precautions to protect young athletes. Among the suggestions are using impact sensors to monitor head blows and collecting head injury data to create a centralized database. Already, Marin General Hospital is providing certified athletic trainers to three area high schools. Here are national stats on concussion from the CDC.
• 1.6 to 3.8 million annual concussion occurrences
• 10% contact sport athletes who suffer concussions annually
• 87% professional boxers who endure brain injuries
• 90% concussions that don’t involve a loss of consciousness
• 1.5 million Americans have sustained traumatic brain injuries.
This article originally appeared in Marin Magazine’s print edition with the headline: “Concussion Repercussions”.