A POLICY OF CONTAINMENT
February 13, 2020
Unfortunately there is no way to stop brain injuries from happening inside or outside of sports. All concussions are different and they occur across the boards. In 2019, an estimated 155,650 children sought care in U.S. emergency departments for a recreation-related traumatic brain injury, according to a new MMWR Report by the CDC.
Coach Lovrich said he is trying his hardest to protect his players, but there is no for sure way to prevent them all.
“You have 22 bodies moving around at one time and you cannot control what everyone does on each play, but we are working very hard to prevent them from happening,” said coach Lovrich.
Trainer Glass concurred, saying even improvements in technology, like better helmets, don’t offer the hope of preventing brain injuries in a sport like football.
“It is what it is. It is a contact sport, so you aren’t really going to be able to change anything to make it safer,” he said. “That is the risk you take when you decide to play sports like football. You can design any helmet on the Earth and it isn’t going to reduce the risk of concussions. The brain shifts inside the skull when you get hit and that’s just the way concussions occur. in my opinion, there is no way to make it safer, per say, to decrease head injuries.”
A study was done and published as recently as September 14, 2019 titled Routine Hits In a Single Football Season May Harm Players’ Brains. Adnan Hirad at the University of Rochester in New York led the new study. It looked for signs of brain changes due to head impacts. Hirad’s team recruited college players to participate in the study during the 2011, 2012 and 2013 football seasons. Each player wore an accelerometer, which allowed the team to monitor intensity and direction of the hits during the whole season. Thirty-eight players participated and together they sustained 19,128 hits to the head, with 59% sustained in practice and 37% in competition.
Each player went through pre and post brain scans. Reserchers found by the end of one season of play, the players’ fractional anisotropy scores had dropped, on average, in their right midbrains. Fractional anisotropy is a gauge of the connectivity of white-matter fibers in the brain. How big the drop was tended to be linked more to the number of hits that rotated a player’s head rather than to the number of direct head-on hits. Those rotational forces might be especially damaging to brain tissue.
White matter is the tissue that allows the brain to transmit signals, allowing for brain functioning and learning.
“People have less intuition in rotational forces and the dangers associated with those forces in comparison to linear forces,” said Dr. Alice Flarend, a physics teacher at Bellwood-Antis.