Your Brain and head injuries
In the 5th century B.C., Hippocrates stated in On the Sacred Disease:
"Men ought to know that from nothing else but the brain come joys, delights, laughter, and sports, and sorrows, grief, despondency and lamentations. And by this, in an especial manner, we acquire wisdom and knowledge, and see and hear and know what are foul and
what are fair, what are good, what are sweet, and what are unsavory, . . . And by the same organ we become mad and delirious, and fears and terrors assail us. . . All these things we endure from the brain."
Contact sports such as football, soccer, ice hockey, lacrosse, mixed martial arts, and rugby did not exist in the 5th century B.C. nor did motorcycling or bicycling. However, the importance of the brain and its contribution to one’s quality of life was appreciated.
Hippocrates more than documented the fact that the brain is the most important organ of our body. If that is true, why are so many young children, teenagers, and adults constantly placing themselves at risk of compromising their quality of life with a brain injury whose effects could be temporary, permanent, or delayed into the future?
Unfortunately, there isn’t one helmet in the world that can prevent a concussion. Further, it is common knowledge that one does not have to receive a blow to the brain to experience a concussion, nor does an individual have to receive concussive blows above the predicted threshold level. The main objective of protective helmets in sports is to reduce and/or eliminate subdural hematomas caused by contact with the helmet itself. The industry has been successful with respect to that type of injury. It is impossible, based upon the technology available and other variables, to entirely eliminate sub-concussive and concussive injuries. However, the use of protective headgear has proven to reduce the risk of the severity of sub-concussive and concussive impact forces to the brain. That is also the purpose of using the Forcefield FF Protective Sweatband for the sport of soccer and other sports. Test data and soccer players wearing the headgear have proven that the headgear more than meets the objective of reducing the severity and risk of head injuries to the brains of soccer players.
While many people may think that this is obvious, most are not aware that small repetitive brain injuries can cause long term damage. There is documentation that continuous or additional sub-concussion level impacts can result in long-term neurological deficits that manifest themselves during the playing time or after the individual is retired
from the sport. In fact, sub-concussive impacts can easily result in reducing the threshold of temporary and/or permanent brain injuries.
Although still not widely known, it is now accepted by pediatric neurologists that children, especially infants and preschoolers up to the age of 7, have a substantially higher vulnerability to neurological trauma than adults. Some of the long-term effects do not manifest themselves until the child has reached adulthood (Jeanette, 2001). Dr. Cynthia L. Beaulieu recently published findings showing that children who sustained injuries in their first five to six years exhibited less recovery of and greater impairment to intellectual skills as compared with children who were aged between 6 and 16. The age at which the injury was received and its severity dictate the rate and extent of recovering from deficits in language, memory, attention, and academic and decision-making skills (Beaulieu, 2002).
Every time an athlete absorbs a direct impact to the brain area, neurons can be destroyed or damaged. A brain contains billions of neurons (nerve cells). The neurons process all of the information that flows from within, to, or out of the central nervous system (CNS). Therefore, an impact can have comprehensive effects on brain activity.
Kevin Guskiewicz, director of the Sports Medicine Research Laboratory at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has stated, "While many parents and athletes think that concussions rarely occur in sports such as lacrosse, soccer, softball, and baseball, recent data suggests that concussions occur more frequently in these sports than previously thought."
If we examine what protective equipment is required for children in soccer and what is an option, we find that protecting the most important organ is an option left up to the player, coach or parent. Why should safety be an option? Place a pictorial of a shin on one side of a page and the brain on the other side. Then make a list of what the shin does for our body and then compare that to the endless list of what the brain does. Should protecting a child’s brain be an option? Should we continue to follow the path that "The line between a hardy and a foolhardy sportsman is sometimes too blurred to sense, let alone to see?"**
Dr. Abraham is the inventor of the ForceField FF Protective Sweatband and founder of ForceField FF (NA), Ltd. He has over forty years of experience in evaluating head protection for every sport played in the United States and Europe. (www.forcefieldheadbands.com
) As a result of Dr. Abraham's participation in personal injury and litigation cases, many products have been made safer and have reduced the risk of injury to both children and adults throughout the world. (www.scientificadvisory.com