geldefender® Blog

  • College students take longer to recover from concussions, study says

    College students, on average, take longer to recover from concussions than the average American, a new study says.

     

    Concussion victims in the United States take about of 7 to 14 days to recover, but in study of 128 Northwestern University students during the 2014-2015 academic year, the undergrad participants took an average of 16 days to recover, while graduate students took a full 31 days.

     

    Most of the participants were athletes, and higher levels of competition saw shorter recovery times (23 days for recreational athletes, 19 for club athletes, and 11-12 for varsity athletes). Since the higher-level teams have easier access to medical attention, it makes sense that their concussions would be diagnosed, treated, and recovered from more quickly.

     

    More than ten extra days of recovery is nothing to scoff at, and the numbers are certainly telling. It’s not new news, but it bears repeating: Access to quick medical care is essential when dealing with concussions.

     

    College students taking longer than the general population to recover makes sense too. Concussions require rest from both physical and mental strain, and higher education is demanding in both respects, especially for athletes. But we should not accept such a dramatic difference in recovery times simply because it’s more difficult for college students to take a break from their responsibilities. Instead, universities should work harder to protect concussion victims with policies to allow them proper rest, and in turn students will be able to return to their studies more quickly, healthier in both the short-term and the long-term.

     

    *Scientists have no conclusive evidence as to whether or how the reduction of g-forces during impacts reduces the number or degree of concussions and head injuries. GelDefender products provide supplemental padding as well as cooling and comfort benefits when used with helmets and caps. Participants in activities in which head impacts can occur should always use tested and approved helmets for protection. However, no helmet or supplemental padding can protect the user from all serious head or neck injuries that can result from impacts.

  • Concussion decrease this season is a big win for the NFL

    The NFL season ended Sunday with a historic Super Bowl. The Patriots made a comeback unprecedented in Super Bowl history to beat the Falcons 34-28. It was Tom Brady’s fifth Super Bowl win and his fourth time being named Super Bowl MVP. With its incredible athletic and dramatic appeal, it was probably the best game America could have asked for.

     

     

    But as exciting as the game was, it was not the best thing to happen this season. Because this season, concussion rates finally fell instead of rising.

     

    The development is an enormous step forward, a testament to the improved concussion protocols in the NFL. The increased sensitivity to head protection and the rule changes that protect against concussions are paying off, and that’s worth celebrating.

     

    That’s not to say things are perfect, that we’ve arrived and have nowhere else to go. Though the concussion rate was down 11.3 percent from the 2015 season, there were still 244 concussions among NFL players this year, plenty to be concerned about. But if this is the start of a new trend, if next season there will be even fewer and the numbers keep dropping as the years go by, we may have finally turned a corner in concussion prevention in professional sports.

     

    *Scientists have no conclusive evidence as to whether or how the reduction of g-forces during impacts reduces the number or degree of concussions and head injuries. GelDefender products provide supplemental padding as well as cooling and comfort benefits when used with helmets and caps. Participants in activities in which head impacts can occur should always use tested and approved helmets for protection. However, no helmet or supplemental padding can protect the user from all serious head or neck injuries that can result from impacts.

  • Concussion rates in pro rugby rise for the fifth straight year

    Despite all the recent concussion awareness and research and precautions and outcry, a recent report indicates that concussion rates in professional rugby have risen for the fifth year in a row.

     

    Although overall match-day injuries were down in the 2015-2016 season from recent years, concussions account for 25% of the injuries. The Professional Rugby Injury Surveillance Project’s report has stoked a hornet’s nest of concern.

     

    The increase in numbers can be at least partially attributed to better diagnosing. Teams are catching more head injuries than they used to, so the increase probably hasn’t been as dramatic as the numbers make it seem.

     

    Nevertheless, a steady increase over five years cannot be explained away so easily. A pattern that consistent needs to be addressed, and World Rugby has risen to the challenge. It has instituted a new zero-tolerance policy toward head contact, a critical move to protect the players from head injury.

     

    Because of this measure and previous ones, including “recognize and remove” initiatives, we will hopefully be seeing a decrease in rugby concussions this season for the first time in five years.

     

    *Scientists have no conclusive evidence as to whether or how the reduction of g-forces during impacts reduces the number or degree of concussions and head injuries. GelDefender products provide supplemental padding as well as cooling and comfort benefits when used with helmets and caps. Participants in activities in which head impacts can occur should always use tested and approved helmets for protection. However, no helmet or supplemental padding can protect the user from all serious head or neck injuries that can result from impacts.

  • Link between brain protein and concussion recovery discovered

    This week in concussion research: Protein levels in the brain could help determine when concussion victims are ready to return to activity.

     

    As head injury studies surge forward, new physiological changes during and after concussions continue to make their presence known. Diagnosing and treatment has gotten much more precise due to these indicators.

     

    The latest discovery is a correlation between levels of the brain protein tau and a concussion victim’s recovery period. The more tau after a sports-related head injury, the longer it will take before the athlete can return to play. And since tau levels can be measured in the blood, it should prove a simple initial diagnostic tool and a concrete way to determine if athletes are completely recovered later on.

     

    Here’s to all the research that’s been done to better concussion care, and here’s to more discoveries like this one that will allow athletes in the future to play it safer.

     

    *Scientists have no conclusive evidence as to whether or how the reduction of g-forces during impacts reduces the number or degree of concussions and head injuries. GelDefender products provide supplemental padding as well as cooling and comfort benefits when used with helmets and caps. Participants in activities in which head impacts can occur should always use tested and approved helmets for protection. However, no helmet or supplemental padding can protect the user from all serious head or neck injuries that can result from impacts.

  • Prolonged rest may not be the best way to treat concussions, study says

    Resting until symptoms disappear might not be the best way to treat a concussion, new research into concussion treatment suggests.

     

    A new study of over 2,400 concussed children, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that those who began physical activity within a week after a concussion had fewer persistent symptoms later on. Each child was evaluated at the 7-day and 28-day marks, and a significantly smaller percentage of the early activity participants reported symptoms at both checkpoints than of those who rested.

     

    This is a deviation from how concussions are usually treated. For years, expert opinion and general intuition have dictated that concussion victims should avoid activity until their brains have had time to heal completely. It stands to reason – we avoid using a broken arm or a twisted ankle while the injury repairs itself, so why would the brain be any different?

     

    But apparently, the brain is different, and if further research proves this study right, if activity early in the process is beneficial, it could completely transform concussion recovery.

     

    *Scientists have no conclusive evidence as to whether or how the reduction of g-forces during impacts reduces the number or degree of concussions and head injuries. GelDefender products provide supplemental padding as well as cooling and comfort benefits when used with helmets and caps. Participants in activities in which head impacts can occur should always use tested and approved helmets for protection. However, no helmet or supplemental padding can protect the user from all serious head or neck injuries that can result from impacts.

  • Researchers find PET scans can detect brain changes from concussions

    As brain injury research moves forward, more and more biological concussion indicators continue to be uncovered. The newest discovery is the ability of a PET scan to detect protein level changes indicative of a concussion in the brain.

     

    Translocator protein 18KDa (TSPO) levels in the brain rise in response to traumatic brain injuries, and a positron emission tomography (PET) scan is able to detect these changes, researchers say. In a study comparing NFL players and veterans with non-athletes with no concussion history, the football players had higher levels of TSPO and more white matter changes in the brain.

     

    The science of detected a concussion is still an imprecise one. The perfect solution to the head injury problem, particularly in youth sports, has yet to present itself. But advancements and discoveries such as this one give hope that one day every concussion can be accurately diagnosed and correctly treated.

     

    *Scientists have no conclusive evidence as to whether or how the reduction of g-forces during impacts reduces the number or degree of concussions and head injuries. GelDefender products provide supplemental padding as well as cooling and comfort benefits when used with helmets and caps. Participants in activities in which head impacts can occur should always use tested and approved helmets for protection. However, no helmet or supplemental padding can protect the user from all serious head or neck injuries that can result from impacts.

  • Persistent concussions require strong support systems for students

    Much has been written about what concussion sufferers endure, how to identify concussions, and how teams and schools should handle concussions as they occur.

     

    But what about the weeks and months after the impact? How do the victims, their parents, and their schools cope with an invisible injury that’s different for every student and that has no end date? This issue was brought to light in a recent article in the Huffington Post written by the parent of a concussion sufferer.

     

    The long, difficult journey a student and those around her continue to walk months after her concussion is chronicled in “4 Things I Wish I’d Known Before My Daughter’s Concussion.” The sad truth is that the persistent headaches, problems with focus, and mental stamina issues impede academic and social lives as well as the athletic careers. And since many teachers, coaches, and school administration don’t adequately understand concussion recovery, frustration and misunderstandings plague the process.

     

    A child recovering from a lingering concussion and that child’s family can never have too much support from those involved in the child’s life. When the recovery process seems impossibly long and when setbacks continue to keep a student from returning to full throttle, a solid support system can make all the difference.

     

    *Scientists have no conclusive evidence as to whether or how the reduction of g-forces during impacts reduces the number or degree of concussions and head injuries. GelDefender products provide supplemental padding as well as cooling and comfort benefits when used with helmets and caps. Participants in activities in which head impacts can occur should always use tested and approved helmets for protection. However, no helmet or supplemental padding can protect the user from all serious head or neck injuries that can result from impacts.

  • Return-to-Learn laws too vague to help kids with concussion

    Return-to-Play laws have become standard in youth sports nationwide, but a less popular measure to help injured kids is the Return-to-Learn law.

     

    Only eight states have passed such laws, which require schools to offer additional support to kids who have suffered a concussion as they return to the classroom. But a new study indicates that the laws are too vague to really be helpful to the children.

     

    By and large, the Return-to-Learn laws offer no specifics on what help children with lingering concussion symptoms should receive. Most schools don’t have a policy for a concussed student’s return, and the laws offer no provisions that would standardize the care. Since symptoms can vary widely in both severity and type, the schools are left to muddle through each child’s care on their own.

     

    The sentiment behind the laws is commendable, of course. We should be equally eager to help students return to school in a healthy way as we are to return them to athletics, if not more so. But the current laws, few as they are, are doing little to assist in the process; it’s time to give schools clear guidance in helping their concussed students.

     

    *Scientists have no conclusive evidence as to whether or how the reduction of g-forces during impacts reduces the number or degree of concussions and head injuries. GelDefender products provide supplemental padding as well as cooling and comfort benefits when used with helmets and caps. Participants in activities in which head impacts can occur should always use tested and approved helmets for protection. However, no helmet or supplemental padding can protect the user from all serious head or neck injuries that can result from impacts.

  • Cubs' Ross says concussions were consideration in leaving baseball

    Last night’s historic, 10-inning World Series Game 7 ended with the first Chicago Cubs championship title since 1908. The team’s 8-7 win over the Cleveland Indians is significant in baseball history for many reasons, but for catcher David Ross it also signaled the end of his career.

     

    At 39, he has decided it is time for him to move on, and it’s hard to imagine a better note on which to end. Not only did his team win the World Series, but they won it in a terrific Game 7 during which he hit a home run. He’s reached the top of the mountain.

    But that’s not why he’s leaving the sport. He wants to spend more time with his family, for one thing. But he’s also starting to consider what years of balls to the facemask (including one last night), and more than a few resulting concussions, could cost him.

     

    Ross has described the symptoms of his past concussions, and their effects on his behaviors, as “miserable” and “a nightmare,” according to the Chicago Sun-Times. He’s also beginning to consider the long-term effects the multiple head injuries could have on him. Given everything he’s experienced and learned, he’s bowing out of the sport.

     

    Ross has had a long career with a successful end, and he has much to be proud of. But as he moves forward, he is making his head a priority, and that’s never a bad call.

     

    *Scientists have no conclusive evidence as to whether or how the reduction of g-forces during impacts reduces the number or degree of concussions and head injuries. GelDefender products provide supplemental padding as well as cooling and comfort benefits when used with helmets and caps. Participants in activities in which head impacts can occur should always use tested and approved helmets for protection. However, no helmet or supplemental padding can protect the user from all serious head or neck injuries that can result from impacts.

  • Youth players' brains show damage after only one football season

    Youth football players’ brains undergo measurable changes after only one season, even a concussion-free season, a new study published in the journal Radiology has found.

     

    Researchers evaluated 25 boys, ages 8 to 13, both before and after a football season using neuroimaging techniques, and they recorded head impacts during the season with the Head Impact Telemetry System and video cameras.

     

    They players’ head showed healthy function in the white matter of the brain before the season, but, despite not a single concussion symptom being experienced among the group, at the end of the season there were abnormalities in their brains. The severity of the problems was proportionate to the number of sub-concussive hits a player sustained during the season.

     

    Further study would be required to discover how long these changes in the brain will last, how they will affect the players, and whether the effects intensify over years of football. But if a few concussion-free months are enough to harm a player’s brain, coaches and medical personnel should be that much more cautious with young players’ heads going forward.

    *Scientists have no conclusive evidence as to whether or how the reduction of g-forces during impacts reduces the number or degree of concussions and head injuries. GelDefender products provide supplemental padding as well as cooling and comfort benefits when used with helmets and caps. Participants in activities in which head impacts can occur should always use tested and approved helmets for protection. However, no helmet or supplemental padding can protect the user from all serious head or neck injuries that can result from impacts.

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