The connection between brain injuries and impact sports made headlines today. As the New York Times reports, Chris Henry, the former Cincinnati Bengals receiver who died in a domestic dispute last December, had developed chronic traumatic encephaly (CTE) by the time of his death.
CTE is a progressive disease of the brain found in athletes (and others) who’ve sustained recurrent concussions. The condition is associated with memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, aggression and dementia. Some speculate that CTE could have contributed to Henry’s behavioral issues in the years leading up to his death.
A Warning for Players at Any Age
Henry’s diagnosis at an unusually young age — he was only 26 — is an important reminder of the danger of sustaining repeated brain injuries. And as the New York Times points out, it’s not just NFL players at risk. High-impact play often starts in childhood.
As the region’s leader in treating pediatric brain injuries, Gillette plays an active roll in educating children and families about prevention and safety. In fact, Gillette is Minnesota’s only pediatric hospital to be certified as an Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT) consultant. ImPACT measures cognitive abilities in children and teens who’ve sustained concussions — helping medical teams plan treatments and make recommendations about returning to activities.
Gillette’s most recent annual report shared the story of a young hockey player who benefitted from ImPACT and Gillette’s expertise. (See Pages 8 – 9.) “The medical community is seeing more cases of problems resulting from multiple mild injuries,” says Leslie Larson, a Gillette nurse practitioner who specializes in brain injuries. “Our goal is to help families understand that all brain injuries are serious and deserve prompt medical attention.”
We’re Here to Answer Your Questions
Do you have a question about impact sports and concussions? Leave a comment, and we’ll answer your questions in an upcoming post from one of our brain injury specialists! And for more information about concussion management, Gillette’s brain injury team and sports safety, visit www.gillettechildrens.org/braininjury.