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Thread: Concussions

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    Concussions

    For those interested, and further to their segment on Delaney Collins two nights ago, tonight's CBC news "The National" will feature a segment on concussions in sport, including women, with Peter Mansbridge travelling to Boston to speak with an expert on the subject.

    The preview showed her explaining to and showing Mansbridge the actual brain of a former athlete that had been concussed with her physically pointing out the significant differences between it and a normal brain.

    I saw a program a couple of years ago that focused the same topic on a few former Canadian Football League players as well as some professional wrestlers. In part it concluded that Chris Benoit's demise, and unfortunately innocent others at the same time, was directly attributable to repeated damage his brain had sustained over an extended period of time.

    The specific example of Benoit and a former great linebacker with the Edmonton Eskimos whose name presently escapes me (Dan Kelly?) and the topic in general is extremely interesting, sad, disturbing and scary all at the same time.

    The segment two nights ago, as I mentioned in the Mercyhurst thread at the time, explained the greater vulnerability of women to this type of injury and the studies that have and are presently taking place to determine exactly why that is.

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    Re: Concussions

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackbeard View Post
    For those interested, and further to their segment on Delaney Collins two nights ago, tonight's CBC news "The National" will feature a segment on concussions in sport, including women, with Peter Mansbridge travelling to Boston to speak with an expert on the subject.

    The preview showed her explaining to and showing Mansbridge the actual brain of a former athlete that had been concussed with her physically pointing out the significant differences between it and a normal brain.

    I saw a program a couple of years ago that focused the same topic on a few former Canadian Football League players as well as some professional wrestlers. In part it concluded that Chris Benoit's demise, and unfortunately innocent others at the same time, was directly attributable to repeated damage his brain had sustained over an extended period of time.

    The specific example of Benoit and a former great linebacker with the Edmonton Eskimos whose name presently escapes me (Dan Kelly?) and the topic in general is extremely interesting, sad, disturbing and scary all at the same time.

    The segment two nights ago, as I mentioned in the Mercyhurst thread at the time, explained the greater vulnerability of women to this type of injury and the studies that have and are presently taking place to determine exactly why that is.
    Concussions are definitely the hot topic in sports. The NFL and NHL especially are very concerned and are changing the rules of their repective games to respond to the concerns. Personally I am a little jaded and think these leagues are not doing this because of concern for players but they are doing this due to fears of lawsuits. There is precedent in suing an industry for ignoring health concerns raised by research (e.g. tobacco companies). I think its good that there is more awareness. A friend of mine, Wally Hilgenberg, died at the age of 66 of ALS. Doctors believe his ALS was caused by brain trauma suffered while playing linebacker for the Minnesota Vikings in the 70s. Scientists are finding links between ALS and Alzheimers and brain trauma. I didn't see the special and I don't get the CBC. Why are they saying that women are more vulnerable?

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    Re: Concussions

    I don't really care WHY different leagues are paying more attention . . . whatever the reason - quality of life - longer, healthier, happier life after the sport of choice is what matters.

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    Re: Concussions

    Quote Originally Posted by SlewFoot View Post
    I didn't see the special and I don't get the CBC. Why are they saying that women are more vulnerable?
    From what I recall there are two reasons and both have to do with simple physics.

    Firstly, women's necks tend, on average, to be a bit longer than men's.

    Secondly, on average, a man's neck tends to have a greater girth by a decent margin. Greater girth equates to more muscle mass/strength which means more resistance to sudden and violent head shots.

    That was the explanation as I recall it. But I didn't fully understand that...I suppose stronger neck muscles would be helpful in many falls where the natural tendency is to try to keep your head as far away from the ground/ice as you can while you are falling, thereby possibly eliminating or reducing the severity of the impact. As well, I would imagine that stronger neck muscles would reduce the tendency for whiplash to occur but how do stronger neck muscles help your brain if someone gets leveled in the head?...like what happened to that Montreal Canadian player last season going full tilt along the boards with his head colliding with post supporting the glass right by the bench?

    Possibly, the neck muscle explanation wasn't meant to cover all eventualities but if that was the case, it wasn't mentioned.

    Other studies are presently in progress.

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    Re: Concussions

    Quote Originally Posted by binnyrus View Post
    I don't really care WHY different leagues are paying more attention . . . whatever the reason - quality of life - longer, healthier, happier life after the sport of choice is what matters.
    Very well put. It doesn't matter if we are talking male or female athletes.

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    Re: Concussions

    Very impressive coverage! From Boston University no less. And the segment lasted at least 20 minutes.

    The video is already available and is a must view for anyone with kids involved in contact sports, (but this topic obviously affects a much wider population...either directly or indirectly). It was even concluded that just the "normal" knocks and bumping that occur in a game such as hockey can have a negative cumulative effect over an extended period of time as they surmise occurred in Rick Martin's case.

    This "brain bank" idea is fascinating and a new world is unfolding for researchers as a result.

    There is a print version to go along with it but some information is omitted...so I strongly recommend watching the video...

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/story/...-national.html
    Last edited by Blackbeard; 10-06-2011 at 09:06 AM.

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    Re: Concussions

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackbeard View Post
    Very impressive coverage! From Boston University no less. And the segment lasted at least 20 minutes.

    The video is already available and is a must view for anyone with kids involved in contact sports, (but this topic obviously affects a much wider population...either directly or indirectly). It was even concluded that just the "normal" knocks and bumping that occur in a game such as hockey can have a negative cumulative effect over an extended period of time as they surmise occurred in Rick Martin's case.

    This "brain bank" idea is fascinating and a new world is unfolding for researchers as a result.

    There is a print version to go along with it but some information is omitted...so I strongly recommend watching the video...

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/story/...-national.html
    Thanks Blackbeard!
    This is a must view for all parents, players, coaches etc...
    Our daughter played D-III as a freshman last year. She sustained at least two concussions. One just before Thanksgiving which gave her the holiday break to recover, test, and return to action. The second one occured in the first round of the NCHA playoffs, and ended her hockey career. Devastating to have to walk away from 15+ years of something she absolutely loved. That said... It had to be. She could not sustain another one.

    Currently, she is free from side effects and has been to her neurologist for follow ups. She will be monitored over the next year and we hope and pray no long term issues. Time will tell.

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    Re: Concussions

    The Mayo clinic has also done a great deal of research on this along with the CDC. USA hockey has also been very proactive in parent, player, and especially coach education. It still amazes me though that with this research and press (especially in professional sports), and all of the education including the IMPACT testing, that it seems the majority of girls still do not wear their mouth guards or they are tucking them into their gloves. I would guess that at the NAHA tourney over 50% did not have their mouth guards in their mouth at the end of their shifts. I heard a certain eastern school had over 10 confirmed concussions last year alone. Not sure how many could have been prevented with mouth guards in and helmets properly fitted but that is an obvious starting point. These players are getting faster and stronger and they need to be protected.

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    Re: Concussions

    puckskillz, I can honestly say that doesn't surprise me about wearing mouth guards. When I was in college, granted it was 15 years ago, we had guys that would make mouth guards out of tape so it looked like they had one in when they didn't. Even know, I go to high school and college women's game and you'll see half the mouth gurad in the mouth. Every year the NCAA talks about points of emphasis for rules enforcement. It may be about time that mouth guards move to the top of the list. I realize this won't prevent all concussions, but it is a good start. If a girls is caught not wearing it, the first time is a warning, second is a double minor and third is either a game or 10-minute misconduct. The complaint you always get is it isn't comfortable or hard to breath or talk. What is worse, that or not being able to remember your name when you are 40?

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    Re: Concussions

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackbeard View Post
    As well, I would imagine that stronger neck muscles would reduce the tendency for whiplash to occur but how do stronger neck muscles help your brain if someone gets leveled in the head?
    I think that the neck acts as a shock absorber and is able to dissipate energy that might otherwise lead to brain trauma. Possessing a stronger neck is like having heavy-duty shocks on a vehicle that can handle larger bumps at faster speeds and still smooth out the ride. Think of fights between bighorn rams where they butt head with tremendous force but are able to remain standing. Their necks must be able to withstand and absorb that force, because their heads don't bounce around much after the initial impact. Even in the case of a blow to the head, if the body can limit to the amount of jostling that the brain suffers after the initial hit, there is likely a benefit. Obviously, the major head trauma does a lot of damage in the case of these injuries, but it appears that seemingly minor events add up as well.

    Thanks for sharing all of this information.
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    Re: Concussions

    Surprisingly I had a conversation with a Neurosurgeon with extensive expertise on concussions and he indicated that there actually is no conclusive evidence that mouth guards help to protect against concussions. He felt that is was marginal at best. He further pointed out that one of the biggest issues in sports related concussions is fit and positioning. How many times do you see a player with their helmet pushed back or so loose it almost flops around. To be honest I have always thought mouth guards were a critical element in the concussion debate, until he made these comments.

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    Re: Concussions

    Quote Originally Posted by ARM View Post
    I think that the neck acts as a shock absorber and is able to dissipate energy that might otherwise lead to brain trauma. Possessing a stronger neck is like having heavy-duty shocks on a vehicle that can handle larger bumps at faster speeds and still smooth out the ride. Think of fights between bighorn rams where they butt head with tremendous force but are able to remain standing. Their necks must be able to withstand and absorb that force, because their heads don't bounce around much after the initial impact. Even in the case of a blow to the head, if the body can limit to the amount of jostling that the brain suffers after the initial hit, there is likely a benefit. Obviously, the major head trauma does a lot of damage in the case of these injuries, but it appears that seemingly minor events add up as well.

    Thanks for sharing all of this information.
    I understand your explanation which makes sense in a head on collision ie: impact with the top of the head, as per your example in which the head would be somewhat compressed into the neck...however, the "levelling" that I was referring to which prompted my question was from the side, front or back...I don't see how the neck minimizes damage in those instances. Once contact is made at these impact points the brain starts bouncing around inside the skull.

    I recall seeing a special years ago on brain damage associated with boxing and of course such a topic would not be sufficiently replete if there had been no mention of Muhammad Ali.

    Using him as an example, it was explained that when a person suffers a blow to the face not only is there bruising of the brain at the point of contact but the brain then bounces off the front of the skull and travels to the back of the skull and bounces off that, creating bruising there and in some instances, I suppose if the initial impact was severe enough, travels back to the front of the skull in order to reintroduce itself. All from one punch (or elbow, knee, goalpost, or ice surface as the case may be...pick your poison). They concluded that "The Greatest" was only a shadow of the man that he used to be, at least in terms of physical agility and verbal communication ability, due to these repeated blows to the head, the effect of each of which was automatically multiplied due to the resulting 2 or more collisions inside the skull.

    They made a direct correlation between all that damage and the advanced stages of Parkinson's Disease to which the Champ had been unfortunate enough to have fallen victim.
    Last edited by Blackbeard; 10-07-2011 at 11:30 PM.

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    Re: Concussions

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackbeard View Post
    I understand your explanation which makes sense in a head on collision ie: impact with the top of the head, as per your example in which the head would be somewhat compressed into the neck...however, the "levelling" that I was referring to which prompted my question was from the side, front or back...I don't see how the neck minimizes damage in those instances. Once contact is made at these impact points the brain starts bouncing around inside the skull. I recall seeing a special years ago on brain damage associated with boxing and of course such a topic would not be sufficiently replete if there had been no mention of Muhammad Ali. Using him as an example, it was explained that when a person suffers a blow to the face not only is there bruising of the brain at the point of contact but the brain then bounces off the front of the skull and travels to the back of the skull and bounces off that, creating bruising there and in some instances, I suppose if the initial impact was severe enough, travels back to the front of the skull in order to reintroduce itself. All from one punch (or elbow, knee, goalpost, or ice surface as the case may be...pick your poison). They concluded that "The Greatest" was only a shadow of the man that he used to be, at least in terms of physical agility and verbal communication ability, due to these repeated blows to the head, the effect of each of which was automatically multiplied due to the resulting 2 or more collisions inside the skull.
    They made a direct correlation between all that damage and the advanced stages of Parkinson's Disease to which the Champ had been unfortunate enough to have fallen victim.
    The neck will act as a shock absorber in any direction that the head is hit except axially. The worst issue are not the direct contact ones but the ones that include a torque. Think of Crosby and how he got hit and spun.

    Women, typically have slender necks and less muscle strength are more vulnerable. They are not as easily able to slow and absorb impacts.

    Concussions should be taken seriously but right now there is hype to the issue as well. We understand the obvious parts of the mechanism but really that is all.

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    Re: Concussions

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackbeard View Post
    ...I don't see how the neck minimizes damage in those instances. Once contact is made at these impact points the brain starts bouncing around inside the skull.
    Unfortunately, I've experienced the "bouncing brain" situation first hand -- that probably explains a lot. You may be right that the strength of the neck isn't that important in certain situations, and I'm certainly not an expert. The way I visualize it is suppose that a head is a bucket mounted on top of a spring that equates to a neck. The brain isn't like a golfball rolling around inside the bucket -- well, maybe in my case. The brain is more like a water balloon that is of a similar size to the inside of the bucket. If the bucket is jarred sufficiently, the water starts sloshing around in the balloon. But with a more heavy-duty spring, the bucket can absorb a more severe blow without wild perturbations of the bucket and ultimately the water. Any reduction in bouncing of the brain likely helps in limiting the injury.
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    Re: Concussions

    Quote Originally Posted by 5 4 Fighting View Post

    There are just as many hockey players getting concussions in that helmet as there are in any other brand.

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    Re: Concussions

    Quote Originally Posted by fantasticfrito View Post
    There are just as many hockey players getting concussions in that helmet as there are in any other brand.
    Do you have specific info regarding that? I'm not saying it's better or worse or the same.

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    Re: Concussions

    Quote Originally Posted by giwan View Post
    Do you have specific info regarding that? I'm not saying it's better or worse or the same.
    I don't have any recorded numbers, but I know just from talking to staff members from various teams of both genders throughout both high school
    and college hockey. Helmets do not prevent concussions, and I'd be very wary of any manufacturer that makes any such claims. I know that the
    messier helmet no longer claims that, but when they first came out the were touted as the concussion proof helmet. The most important part of
    reducing concussion risk in any helmet is fit. But if you get hit hard enough, even at open ice with no direct head impact, you might still get a
    concussion.

    I'm very interested in the physiological differences between men and women that causes such a disparity in concussion numbers in "contact" sports. I
    think in the next few years there will be a lot more info to help reduce the number in women's sports. I think as weight lifting becomes more
    important to hockey teams it will help with some of those issues. It was touched on above about how a stronger neck might help to reduce the risk.

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    Re: Concussions

    Quote Originally Posted by ARM View Post
    Unfortunately, I've experienced the "bouncing brain" situation first hand -- that probably explains a lot. You may be right that the strength of the neck isn't that important in certain situations, and I'm certainly not an expert. The way I visualize it is suppose that a head is a bucket mounted on top of a spring that equates to a neck. The brain isn't like a golfball rolling around inside the bucket -- well, maybe in my case. The brain is more like a water balloon that is of a similar size to the inside of the bucket. If the bucket is jarred sufficiently, the water starts sloshing around in the balloon. But with a more heavy-duty spring, the bucket can absorb a more severe blow without wild perturbations of the bucket and ultimately the water. Any reduction in bouncing of the brain likely helps in limiting the injury.
    We're both fully paid members of the same club. I wonder how many other forumites are.

    When I used the term "bounce" I was using it very loosely...I realize that there is not much space between the brain and the skull...but before reading your last post I was thinking that it is almost counter-intuitive that the neck would be able to act as a shock absorber in the examples that I last gave...in other words, it would seem that if the head could keep moving after the initial impact and eventually decrease the speed of that "moving" that there would be a "soft landing" for the brain on the back side of the skull...like when a skater pulls their stick back to accept a pass, thereby minimizing the impact so as to increase control over the puck so that the puck doesn't go bouning off the blade of their stick. That's the way it seems to me...in other words, that the neck isn't able to allow the skull to travel far enough after the initial impact in order to provide that "soft landing" simply because it's not long enough but then again, I'm no expert either.

    I'd be interested to hear what those who watched the video thought of it. Only one comment on it, so far.
    Last edited by Blackbeard; 10-08-2011 at 10:37 PM.

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    Re: Concussions

    Quote Originally Posted by fantasticfrito View Post
    Helmets do not prevent concussions...
    Very true, but the newer, better quality helmets obviously offer more protection than the older cheaper ones.
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