Medical Myths BUSTED!

We spend so much time talking to people about how they can protect their brain but feel equally obligated to educate everyone on the gray matter between our ears.

It’s no surprise that many of us are keenly curious about how the brain works. Unfortunately, some aspects of brain function are still poorly understood, and a few misperceptions about the brain have long been perpetuated as myth.

We’d like to help put some of those myths to bed.

 

MYTH 1: The average person uses only 10% of their brain. 

FALSE: High-tech brain scans including PET and fMRI show that much of the brain is engaged even during simple tasks.

MYTH 2: We have five senses.

FALSE: Sure, sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch are the big ones. But we have many other ways of sensing the world and our place in it. Proprioception is a sense of how our bodies are positioned. Nociception is a sense of pain. We also have a sense of balance, body temperature and even acceleration and the passage of time.

MYTH 3: The two sides of the brain operate independently.

FALSE: While the cerebral cortex (the main portion of the brain) does have two sides, or “hemispheres,” that control different functions, research has shown us that both sides of the brain are constantly active in most situations, especially when you’re learning.

Stay tuned!  We’ll have many more myths to shatter in future posts.

Does Riddell Have a Duty to Protect Players?

Whose responsibility is to make sure an athlete remains concussion free? The player? The coach? Parents? Well, at least 2,500 people believe it should be the helmet manufacturers.

Right now 2,500 plaintiffs are seeking damages against Riddell because they believe the sports equipment company had a duty to protect NFL players against the long-term risk of concussions, yet defaulted on that obligation.  

Further, the plaintiffs believe that Riddell falsely marketed their helmets as having the ability to reduce the risk of concussions by a substantial percentage. Plaintiffs refer to Riddell’s Revolution helmet in their Master Complaint, pointing out that Riddell marketed the helmet as reducing concussions by 31%.

In response to this accusation, all Riddell Football Helmets now include concussion awareness hang-tags with information from USA Football and the CDC.

Whose responsibility is it to educate the sports community about the dangers of concussion? In our estimation, everyone.

Meet Kelley

There are many brave people in the world but every once in a while you come across someone whose story is so inspiring that you are amazed by their ability to overcome adversity.

Meet Kelley, a courageous young lady who suffers from concussion. After being diagnosed, she made the decision to help educate others about the dangers of concussion and help other people realize they are not alone in their struggle. She has already spoken at schools on the topic of brain injuries, her story was featured in the summer newsletter of the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts and, now, she has agreed to be a recurring contributor to our blog by posting journal entries about her ongoing saga.

This is Kelley’s Story:

“Ten months ago I sustained my second concussion while playing volleyball on my high school varsity team. Since then I have endured ten months of often excruciating headaches and neck pain. Ten months of home tutoring to help me keep up with my schoolwork because the lights and noises of the school environment are unbearable. Ten months of solitude to wrestle with the fact I may never be able to play the sport I love again. In all of those ten months confined to my home, I am yet to hear any encouraging words from my peers. It made the isolation worse and even harder to deal with. I wondered if other people had a similar story? Was there anyone else out there who is going through, or has gone through, this struggle with this kind of a traumatic brain injury? If I had someone else that was going through the same thing, I think it would be easier to deal with all of the changes in my life that I had no control over. I hope by contributing to this blog, I can encourage others. I hope people who are suffering through this injury know they are not alone, and that there are people who truly understand what they are going through. I also desire that people would read my stories and have a new compassion and understanding for those that they encounter who have been impacted by this silent brain injury.”

Mild Brain Injuries Just Don’t Exist

We find it interesting people still call concussions “mild brain injuries.”  Furthermore, culture makes every attempt to break down the preconceived notion that concussions are nothing serious.

“Just shake off,” they say, or “Man-up.” We can thank educational resources like the dictionary and encyclopedia for perpetuating this misconception. Even Wikipedia, the popular online Web site, plainly states that “The terms mild brain injury, mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI), mild head injury (MHI), minor head trauma, and concussion may be used interchangeably.”

If people believe that a concussion is so mild, we invite them to review the following details: 

1) Did you know that the word concussion comes from the Latin word concutere which means TO SHAKE VIOLENTLY.

2) Concussion side effects can include physical,

cognitive and emotional impairments. Think that’s mild? These side effects can range from blurred vision and headaches to convulsion and amnesia. In severe cases, psychiatric disorders and even long-term memory loss (including a greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s) are possible. Hardly mild.

Don’t get us wrong, in nearly all cases, people who sustain a concussion will live a happy, healthy and fully functional life.  We just need to make sure our facts are straight, especially from the resources we use to learn.

Concussions are a brain injury, not a “mild injury,” not a “mild head trauma”…  A brain injury.

Courtesy WebMD

College Football Conferences Begin Studying Concussion Awareness

The SEC (Southeastern Conference), a Division I participant of the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association), has recently formed a task force to study the effects of concussion among college football players.

The conference, which includes colleges in the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas, decided to form the group because of the several concussion lawsuits brought by former pro football players against the NFL.

The Southeastern Conference (SEC) of the NCAA has recently launched a task force to look into concussions among its football players and how to protect them from brain injuries.

Concern about the long-term effects of concussions is spreading from the professional level to the college athletics, especially since virtually none of the football conferences have established guidelines for dealing with head injuries.

University of Florida President Bernie Machen said last week, “We’re all aware that issues associated with concussions sustained during athletic competition have become increasingly matters of concern both within our league and indeed at the national level.”

The SEC’s decision comes on the heels of the Big Ten’s recent initiative to begin studying head injuries through its academic consortium. With 12 member universities in the states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, the Big Ten conference includes some of the largest student bodies in the country.

Last year, the Ivy League, with eight private institutions in the northeastern U.S., became the only conference to implement specific guidelines in an effort to reducing concussions among its football players. Its rules now include limiting full-contact practices to twice a week, a 60 percent reduction from NCAA rules, as well as the possibility of players being penalized for helmet hits, including the option of suspension for intentional hits.

An Open Letter to Justin Bieber

© Bill Davila / Startracks

Dear Justin:

By now, most of us know you sustained a concussion yesterday by walking into a glass door. And then you passed out for 15 seconds.

Those are the facts and now we’d like to relay some facts to you.

See, we were hoping you’d see this as an ideal way to reach all your fans, warning them of the dangers of concussions, even though the incident might have seemed like an insignificant injury to you.

But no, you and your manager both succeeded in sweeping the situation under the proverbial rug.

Here are some tidbits from your tweets, along with our commentary about the facts:

“im fine. just smacked my head”
No, a concussion is more than smacking your head. It’s when your brain gets knocked against the inside of your skull.

“needed some water. all good.”
No, Biebs, a concussion is not the same as dehydration.

“jb is gonna be fine. things happen. he is a trooper. canadian hockey player. tough kid. no issue.”
No, JB’s manager, concussions are serious issues, and they have nothing to do with being tough. Even the toughest of the tough have been sidelined by concussions, and that includes Canadian hockey players.

Oh, and by the way, the fact that you’ve been on Twitter since your concussion has not escaped us. Part of allowing your brain to rest is staying away from computers, cell phones, video games and the like. Yes, that includes dancing around. Not fun but very important.

So, Justin, please know that concussions are no small matter and we appeal to you to tell your fans the facts.

In the meantime, we have some advice for you: When In Doubt, Sit It Out. And watch those doors.

Sincerely,
HeadFirst