Neuro - Sports
Neural plasticity offers
a new treatment paradigm
Neuro-Science in Sport
Focus on concussion in American Football and CTE
Facts and Figures
0.41 concussions per NFL game of American football:
67.7% of concussions involve impact by another player’s helmet,
20.9% involve impact by other body regions (e.g., a knee),
11.4% involve impact on the ground .
9.3% of the concussions involved loss of consciousness
2.4% of the concussions resulted in hospitalization.
92% of the players who sustain a concussion return to practice in less than 7 days
69% of the players who experience loss of consciousness return to practice in less than 7 days.
more about concussion>
Long Term issues include, Parkinsons, Alzheimers & CTE
CTE is Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy is only diagnosis (from autopsy).
90%- 99% of former NFL players have CTE
those who had played football longer were more likely to have worse brain damage.
more on CTE >
This is not to say that 99 percent of NFL players will develop CTE (the brains were donated and are not a representative sample). But it does show that football players are, indeed, at risk.
more about symptoms>
more about neuro-plasticity rehab>
Background of the brain in sport?
The human brain is the most complicated and powerful organ on planet Earth — is squishy. When a person hits their head hard, the brain can bounce around and twist in the skull. It’s this rapid motion of the brain inside the skull that creates the traumatic brain injury known as a concussion.
During impact, individual neurons can be stretched and damaged. Brain chemistry gets out of whack. Concussions make people “see stars,” become disoriented, lose consciousness, become sensitive to light and sound, get headaches, and have sluggish or confused thoughts for weeks and even months.
Heads and bodies get smashed and shuddered every week during the season.
This data doesn’t cover the countless additional blows to the head that don’t reach the level of concussion but still may pose a risk for the brain.
What is CTE or so called
Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy?
CTE is the shortened version of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy and is a degenerative brain disease caused by repetitive hits.
CTE is not about single concussions.
It’s the result of repeated concussions or head impacts that are not quite as severe (mild TBI) which can result in lasting structural changes in the brain.
Pain you feel is not a good indicator of the level of damage.
Repeat mild evens even falls or repeated vibrations can impact upon the brain. Some will just experience symptoms such as 'brain fog', dizziness, headaches or other symptoms detailed on the science page>
More specifically, brains with CTE accumulate a protein called tau (which is believed to be dislodged from brain fibers during an injury). Tau clumps together in the tissues of the brain, interrupting critical information flow.
The mechanisms of how this all happens still aren’t well understood. The challenge is nobody sees what happens to the brain when someone gets a concussion,
One hypothesis is that the sulci — the grooves on the surface of the brain — experience high mechanical stress during an injury and burst open pockets of tau. (In autopsies, these clumps of tau are often found near the blood vessels at the bottom of sulci.)
The interruption of normal neural integrity is believed to create cascades of inflammation and substances that cause secondary damage due to a build up of toxicity (including tau proteins) and loss of neural physiology.
Treatment paradigms are being develop to
protect the neural health prior to injury (neuro-protect)
immediate care to support neural health and reduce the oxidative event and inflammatory cascades that are believed to cause much of the chronic long term effects (first aid kit)
support neural plasticity to allow neural networks to bypass the damaged sites. (neuro-recovery)
Understanding the neurology and science gives ever increasing insights and intervention strategies to managing concussion and its' chronic diseases such as CTE .