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Email All too often young athletes feel they are invincible, immune to any sort of long-term consequences from a blow to the head during practice or game.
But two former pro athletes who told their stories to Congress today are living proof of how serious the consequences can be. Chris Nowinskia Harvard graduate and former professional wrestler for World Wrestling Entertainment, and Ben Utecht, former NFL player for the Cincinnati Bengals and Indianapolis Colts, still suffer years later as a result of these all-too-common injuries.
Today both went before the Senate Special Committee on Aging to talk about bearing the long-term burden of repeated head injuries. Nowinski, who is the founding executive director of the Sports Legacy Institutea nonprofit to raise awareness and funding for concussion research, told the committee he was first injured during a wrestling match when he was 24, but continued to compete despite persistent headaches.
But I lied about my symptoms for five weeks thinking I was doing the right thing," he said. But CTE is what I fear most. Many of the symptoms linked to the condition, including memory loss and cognitive decline and well as changes in moods and behavior, are related to symptoms of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease and Lou Gehrig's disease.
In fact, people who suffer repeated and traumatic brain injury are statistically at higher risk for developing these neurodegenerative conditions later in life.
Researchers still have yet to completely understand the association between traumatic brain injury and long-term cognitive decline.
However, a number of large-scale studies indicate repeated traumatic brain injury can cause a buildup of tau and amyloid plaques in the brain, which is also a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease.
In one study published last year in Neurology, researchers at the Mayo Clinic gave brain scans to people who had suffered traumatic brain injury as well as those who had not.
They found 18 percent of the study participants with mild cognitive impairment who reported a prior brain injury had an average of 18 percent more amyloid plaques than those without a history of head trauma. Today's hearing is one of several public events held by lawmakers to call for action and awareness among the health and sports communities.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as many as 3. At the hearing, Utecht told the audience that he didn't truly understand the health implication of his injuries until he was being put into an ambulance after his fifth documented concussion.Individuals with severe injuries can be left in long-term unresponsive states.
For many people with severe TBI, long-term rehabilitation is often necessary to maximize function and independence. Even with mild TBI, the consequences to a .
Sep 13, · “This statement clears up all the confusion and doubt manufactured over the years questioning the link between brain trauma and long-term neurological impairment,” said Chris Nowinski, the.
Dr. Lassonde previously worked alongside members of the Montreal Canadiens hockey team who suffered from severe head trauma, undertaking research into the long-term effects it can have on athletes. Under these conditions, head injury risks can be identified and patients with concussion can be followed to assess long-term effects.
Today's computer technology has made the uniform documentation of injuries among multiple institutions a reality. Sep 13, · “It’s quite obvious from the medical research that’s been done that concussions can lead to long-term problems,” Aiello, the N.F.L.
spokesman, said in , the first time any league. Sep 30, · The Long-Term Effects of Concussions on NFL Players.
with 18, retired players who had suffered from head injuries. More than 4, former athletes .