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Concussions have been receiving greater attention as both medical researchers and the general public have come to recognize the serious risk of developing permanent problems when they go untreated. Professional athletes have been in the spotlight, but awareness has grown at the high school and college levels as well.
Beginning next year, concussion training will be mandatory for public school coaches here in Indiana. Even in youth sports leagues for small children, coaches and parents are now often receiving training on how to prevent concussions on the field and how to recognize the signs when an athlete suffers one. Treatment has improved, and it’s now common to pull athletes off the field after a suspected concussion, when in years past they would have “toughed it out” and risked further injury by continuing to play.
The past, however, is not really past. A recent report suggests that nearly one in four Americans—23%—have suffered a concussion at some point in their life.
While concussions (a type of traumatic brain injury, or TBI) have been known to be a serious problem for generations, most sports-related head injuries haven’t been considered a major concern prior to the last decade or so. It’s very easy to imagine that many adults, now in their thirties, forties, and beyond, suffered undocumented injuries on the field when they were young.
Many of them still feel the results. Nearly one-third of those surveyed indicated that they had experienced long-term effects, including headaches, concentration and memory problems, and balance or coordination problems.
The numbers were collected as part of a survey conducted by Truven Health Analytics and National Public Radio (NPR), and they aren’t meant to be scientific. Subjects were polled and asked to self-report whether they’d ever had a concussion. They were then queried on how many concussions they’d had, whether they’d sought treatment, whether there was any permanent damage, and a number of other points.
While the study is by no means definitive, as there were no actual medical diagnoses or examinations involved in reporting, it does give a general sense of how widespread concussions and TBIs have been and continue to be in America.
One potentially important finding of the study is that overall awareness of the seriousness of concussions has improved. Even though about one in eight respondents with children reported that their child had also suffered a concussion, nearly 90% of those same parents had sought medical treatment for their children. More than 80% felt that the publicity around the seriousness of TBI has been reasonable, with only about 10% feeling that the risk has been exaggerated.
Concussions and all forms of TBIs need to be taken seriously, and as a country we’ve made great progress on this issue. Still, not everyone has gotten the message, and even when they have, there will still be cases where reckless behavior or negligence, on or off the field, leads to a serious head injury.
If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of a concussion, you are urged to contact the Indianapolis Brain Injury Attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The lawyers at WKW can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.