Traumatic Brain Injuries: Are They Ever “Mild”?

Traumatic brain injuries have been in the news a lot lately, as more is learned about the long term effects of these injuries on professional athletes or anyone injured as a result of a blow to the head.

As reported in this LA Times article, the NFL is now focusing on preventing brain injuries from the get to. Players invited to the NFL scouting combine will be required to undergo baseline brain activity exams, which will then be used as a point of comparison against tests taken after a head injury.

Similarly, the NCAA plans to hold a “concussion summit” later this year in response to concerns about head injuries and, as reported in this article ( the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Football Rules Committee enacted new rules last month regarding head injuries that “will require any player that shows signs, symptoms, or behaviors associated with a concussion to be removed from a game and not return to play unless cleared by an appropriate health-care professional.”

Mild traumatic brain injuries, also known as concussions, are now believed to be anything but “mild”, as reported in this recent article from ScienceDaily. As explained in the article:

Although mTBI affects over 1 million people each year in the United States, it is generally ignored as a major health issue. However, this “mild” form of injury induces persisting neurological and cognitive problems in many of these patients, exacting an enormous emotional and financial toll on society.

As the article suggests, this type of injury is far more serious than was initially thought. For that reason, as noted in the article, because “brain pathology can be detected after a concussion calls for much more extensive efforts to prevent, diagnose, and treat mild traumatic brain injury.”

It’s good to know that sports organizations of all levels are fianlly taking notice of this serious issue and enacting preventative measures to protect our athletes. They deserve it.