Concussions: Do We Understand Them?


My boyfriend has been playing Rugby for many years.  Now that he plays at college, the amount of injuries that he gets has increased dramatically.  Whenever I get the opportunity to watch him play, it is always difficult to watch him ram his body into someone else or fall on his neck.  Needless to say the boy worries me! The other day he called me after his game and told me that he thinks he has a concussion.  I told him to go to the doctor and his response was, "No I don't need to I get concussions all the time I will be fine."  He continues to play when he thinks he has a concussion.

            concussion is, "a type of traumatic brain injury that is caused by a blow to the head or body, a fall, or another injury that jars or shakes the brain inside the skull."  If someone repeatedly gets concussions, it is very possible that they will get permanent brain damage.  I have heard that is even possible for speaking to become difficult for people that have experienced much head trauma.  This is something that worries me the most.  Having permanent brain damage effects not just the person with the brain damage, but the others around them as well.



However, there have been studies done to determine the types of long lasting effects that concussions can have on the brain.  I found one study in particular to be very interesting.  This study was done by Doug Terry, a third year Ph.D. student in Clinical Psychology at the University of Georgia.  He studied Rugby players in college and realized that their brains had no been affected by the concussions.  However, I like how he approached his study and said that, "If subtle damage or change occurred, over time it may have either an effect that can no longer be overcome by youth and high health, or an effect that worsens over time, to the point that 20 or more years later it begins to show up.  Of course, a third possibility is that having a series of concussions when you are young has no effect on you when in your 50s and 60s."  This showed that Terry was considering that concussions may not even be related to brain health later in life.  However, to transform his study from observational to experimental, Terry decided to use a machine called the NeuroComm Balance Manager.   This machine provides, "objective measure of balance that uses two force plates to measure your center pressure.  It tests all your systems of balance. It can see if balance is impaired many years after a concussion occurs." He still has not concluded if concussions have long-term effects.

            Even though there is not solid evidence of concussions having long-term effects on the brain, they are nothing to take lightly.  Studies are getting closer and closer to finding if concussions cause long term brain damage, especially with the use of the NeuroComm Balance Manager.  By having these studies go from observational to experimental, there is a lot more room for more data.  A concussion means damage to your brain, a vital part of the human body necessary to function.  If you damage that too many times, you could be in a lot of trouble. So to all you rugby players out there: Please be careful! 


I liked your article. I've had a few minor concussions, but had a pretty severe one two years ago when I played co-ed flag IM football my freshman year. I am not surprised that there is no actual evidence that concussions leave long-term consequences, because it seems rather immoral to experimentally test. However, I can say from my own experience that I notice subtle differences, even two years after the incident.
Also, depending on the severity of a concussion, the length of time that symptoms last varies greatly. For example, three weeks after my concussion, I was so dizzy I fell down an entire flight of stairs. For almost a month after my concussion, I had difficulty placing names to faces of people that I knew. I developed several psychological issues, like anxiety and slight depression. These symptoms, and many more, are commonly referred to as post concussive syndrome.
I hope that your boyfriend, as well as all of my classmates, will take concussions more seriously. I wouldn't wish the struggle I went through on anyone.

I thought that your post was really interesting. A girl that I went to high school with was a flyer for our school's cheerleading squad as well as a few all stars squads and she's had I want to say nine concussions in the past five years. Her doctor said if she gets anymore than she's risking serious brain damage. You should tell your boyfriend to be more careful because you wouldn't want his doctor telling him the same thing. I feel like people take concussions too lightly when they can truly very dangerous things. Here's an article I found about concussions specifically with rugby players:

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