It is safe to say that sooner or later we are all going to experience some form of head trauma. In the grand scheme of things, bumping ones head is just part of life. Sports are also a healthy part of life. But the more we learn, the more we see the need for changes in certain sports to protect our children.
We are learning that REPEATED BLOWS TO THE HEAD, whether they result in a concussion or not, can lead to Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). We are seeing the most CTE type hits occurring in boxing and American football, but other activities can lead to CTE if we are not careful about preventing head trauma.
Here is the list we have compiled, so far, for sports that are prone to repetitive head injuries. The more we learn, the longer the list becomes
- Boxing/Martial Arts**
- American Football**
- Bull Riding
- Military Combat
- Physical Abuse
- Water Sports
**The list is infinite, but boxing and American football trump all others combined with the type of sub-concussive, repeated head injuries that are linked to CTE. Linemen seem to experience the most helmet-to-helmet contact conducive to CTE and the speed positions in football (quarterback, running back, halfback, fullback, wide receiver, tight end, defensive back, safety, linebacker) also seem the most prone for higher speed hits.
If your child is participating in any sport that results in repeated hits to the head, please let us know so it can be added to the list.
If your child is playing in any of these sports please be aware of the risks and vigilant about discussing head trauma with your student.
And while helmets are required/recommended whenever possible, it is important to remember that helmets only protect the skull and face to a certain extent. HELMET USAGE DOES NOT PROTECT THE BRAIN FROM CTE! In fact a helmet may give a person undue sense of security when receiving multiple hits thus promoting an increased chance for CTE and there is evidence that helmets may make the problem worse for children with undeveloped necks.