geldefenderTM Blog

  • Play it safer this fall season

     

    The much-dreaded return to the classroom has arrived for students everywhere, but with it also comes the much-anticipated fall sports season.

     

    Given the amount of literature about sports head injuries generated and circulated recently, we are not going to add another detailed explanation of the risks into the fray. But as the kids you care about head back onto the field, we’d be remiss not to remind you to take care of their brains.

     

    Remember, a hard hit to the head is not just getting your bell rung, and shaking it off or powering through is not something to be congratulated. Make sure the student-athletes you know and their coaches are educated about the short- and long-term dangers of head injury and follow safe protocols.

     

    Good equipment, correct on-field techniques and swift identification and treatment of concussions all play a big part in keeping athletes safe. If players and coaches are proactive in taking care of athletes’ brains, then kids can 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.

  • Lab grows brain tissue, opens doors for concussion reseach

     

    In a huge leap forward for head injury research, brain tissue has, for the first time, been successfully grown in a lab.

     

    The new 3D tissue functions chemically and electrically like a real brain and can survive for up to two months in a lab. Until now, scientists have only been able to research with 2D neurons instead of with the complex structure of grey and white matter that the new tissue replicates. In addition to head injury research, the advancement could also shed light on other matters such as dementia, drug screening, and nutrition.

     

    Now, scientists are able to mimic brain injuries by dropping weights onto the synthetic brains, and they are hopeful that this will be enable them to better track how the brain responds to and recovers from concussion. Consequently, they may be able to find ways to repair the damaged areas.

     

    Of course, this is still mostly speculation, and only time will tell how much or little enlightenment this brain tissue will yield, but it certainly is a significant step forward and has the potential to be a brain injury game-changer.

     

    *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.

  • Premier League to implement new head injury rules

     

    The English Premier League, England’s primary professional soccer competition (as the name implies), is introducing new rules on how to deal with head injuries.

     

    Starting with the 2014-15 season, any player with a head injury must leave the pitch, and a club doctor, not management or the coaching staff, must make the decision on whether a player can return to play. And for each game, the home team must employ a “tunnel” doctor who will monitor the action for potential concussions and provide support for the club doctors.

     

    In addition, a campaign to educate players and managers about the dangers of concussions will be launched, a doctor dedicated to head injury research who liaises with each club will be hired, and annual baseline testing of all players will be conducted.

     

    Several high-profile mishandlings of soccer concussions in the last year have been driving forces in the changes. In addition to several World Cup blunders, a head injury last season within the league has mounted pressure for reform: Keeper Hugo Lloris lost conscious during a match yet was allowed to continue playing for the rest of the game.

     

    Now, the League is taking important steps to improve how they handle such situations and prevent such dangerous situations. With any luck, this will mark the beginning of a trend toward better head safety in professional soccer as a whole.

     

    *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.

  • New California bill limits full-contact practices for middle and high schools

     

    California has joined a number of other states in limiting the number of full-contact practices in middle and high schools.

     

    Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill into law that will prohibit full-contact practices in the off-season and only allow two 90-minute ones per week in the preseason and regular season. The bill also establishes a 7-day supervised protocol that athletes will be required to complete after a head injury. The law, which will apply to all public, private and charter schools, will go into effect in 2015.

     

    By and large, the response to the new measures seems to have been a positive one. A number of major medical and educational bodies have voice their support for the bill, which comes as no surprise given that the Sports Legacy Institute estimates that more than half of football brain trauma occurs in practice. This measure could go a long way in limiting those head injuries, not only the major concussions but also the small, repeated blows that add up over time.

     

    Though of course not everybody is thrilled with the new regulations, it’s encouraging that more lawmakers are recognizing and reacting to the need to protect kids’ heads. Perhaps more will now follow in the wake of these states who have already stepped up.

     

    *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.

  • FIFA head injury rule changes long overdue

     

    Over the last few weeks, the highest level of competition in the world’s popular sport was played out on the international stage. Soccer players, fans, and casual viewers experienced a great range of human emotion: the thrills of victory, the pains of defeat and great senses of national unity.

     

    But many were also surprised and appalled at how head injuries were dealt with at such a high and visible level (or rather, how they were not dealt with). The most glaring example was perhaps Germany’s Christoph Kramer’s concussion early in the FIFA World Cup final. After a head-on collision with an Argentinian player, Kramer only stepped off the field for moments before returning to play. Fourteen minutes later, having spent that time stumbling around the field in a daze, he collapsed and was escorted off. Later, he said he couldn’t remember much of his playing time.

     

    The incident lent concrete imagery to a fact that has been repeated over and over since before the World Cup even began: FIFA must adjust its rules and policies to better protect players who have suffered head injuries.

     

    Since teams are only allowed three substitutions per game and players cannot reenter the game once they have been removed, coaches are extremely loath to take out key players. And while the team doctors are tasked with deciding whether players are fit to return to play (while the team plays with a man down), the opinion often seems to be that if the player is conscious and capable of standing, he can play. The immediate rewards of a star player’s participation in the game usually supersedes the long-term and grave dangers that untreated head injuries present.

     

    There are, of course, obstacles. In addition to FIFA’s general unwillingness to change and the “macho” atmosphere to which it clings, soccer players have a long and colorful history of faking serious injury when it suit their needs. Adding allowances for head injury would without a doubt lead to yet more abuses.

     

    But FIFA cannot simply ignore the overwhelming lack of care for head injuries within its ranks simply because it’s more convenient to pass off responsibility to the individual teams. Something’s gotta give.

     

    *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.

  • City bike-sharing may be leading to rise in head injuries

     

    In a strange twist, a health initiative many cities have adopted may be leading to a rise in bicycle-related head injuries. Bike-sharing programs are springing up around the country both to give people a convenient way to get around and to encourage exercise.

     

    The problem is that the rental stations don’t include helmets with the bicycles they lend. So unless renters bring helmets with them, they go without. Seeing the risks this could pose, a group of American and Canadian researchers compared data from trauma centers in five cities from both before and after these bicycle programs were installed. They also looked at data from five cities that don’t offer bike-sharing as a control group.

     

    Overall, the study found that in the cities with bike-sharing programs, there was a 14 percent greater risk of bicycle-related head injuries. With cities as large as D.C. and Miami participating, that statistic represents a disturbingly high number of people with damaged heads.

     

    Is seems short-sighted if not dangerous to sacrifice one type of health for another. As admirable as the goal of promoting exercise among a city’s population is, if the programs are also encouraging a disregard for head safety, perhaps the model should be tweaked.

     

    *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.

  • Injured student athletes form "Concussion Connections"

     

    A group of athletes in Soptsylvania County, Va., who have suffered severe concussions while playing sports have banded together. Now they’ve formed “Concussion Connections” to support one another and to help others in similar situations.

     

    The four girls, 16- and 17-year-old students athletes, all experienced symptoms like head pain and impaired thinking processes even after their doctors cleared them. But, as one of their mothers pointed out, “‘Cleared’ is different from ‘healed.’”

     

    The girls had to take long absences from the sports that they love and faced worries over losing scholarship opportunities and other long-term problems they’d have to face. They found that others did not understand what they were going through, and some even accused them of faking their symptoms. So they searched for others in similar situations and found one another.

     

    Through the Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., they were able to learn more about the long-term effects of head injury, and now they use the center for physical therapy and cognitive testing. They’re also working to inform and help other athletes who go through the same things as they did.

     

    Despite the wealth of information that has sprung up over recent years regarding head injury, it is still often misunderstood among the general population. These girls are working hard to change that in their community, and here’s hoping that others will follow in that example.

     

    *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.

  • More education may lead to better healing of TBI

     

    There may be a new reason to stay in school. A recent study suggests that the more education a person has, the better that person recovers from head injury.

     

    In a similar way to how Alzheimer’s patients with more education tend to have fewer symptoms, scientists believe that further education results in a larger “cognitive reserve” that helps the brain function better after an injury.

     

    For the study, 769 people (23 years of age or older) who had suffered a TBI were followed through their recovery for one year. Of those studied, 24% had not finished high school, 51% had completed high school (some in this group also had up to three years of further education), and 25% had attained at least an undergraduate degree.

     

    A full year after their injuries, only 10% of those who hadn’t finished high school were fully recovered. In the second group, 31% were disability-free, and of those who had at least an undergrad degree, 39% were fully recovered.

     

    Plenty of research has been dedicated recently to the agents involved in brain injury recovery, and this is likely just one of many variables. There is still much to learn, but this discovery is an encouraging step towards understanding head injuries and better helping their victims.

     

    *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 awareness and concern is spreading to Europe

     

    Recently, the swell in American head injury awareness and concussion concern has crossed the Atlantic and now hovers over both European soccer and rugby.

     

    The symptoms have manifested themselves in similar ways to how they did in the USA: Medical experts and some athletes are pushing for changes in the sports to better prevent head injury. Traditionalists are resisting any sort of modifications. Officials are unwilling to accept the severity of the problem. And discussions are being held at the government level about reform.

     

    It comes as no surprise that the reactions to this concussion awareness that we saw in American contact sports, particularly football, are emerging internationally. It is, however, a little surprising that it has taken this long for other countries to start taking head injuries seriously – especially given the enormous amount of information generated in recent years about concussions’ harmful and sobering effects.

     

    Though the head injury spotlight has been on the NFL and football, concussions are no discerners of persons. And though the frequency of concussions may vary from sport to sport, when they do occur, they are always harmful and have the potential for long-reaching consequences, whether in American football or in rugby across the pond. Here’s hoping that both in the USA and abroad, player safety will continue to become a priority for all sports and that athletes’ brains safer in the future for it.

     

    *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.

  • Mixed Martial Arts study demonstrates high risk of head trauma

     

    In recent months and years, football concussions have been at the fore and in the spotlight of the head injury buzz, given that football players were the ones to bring attention to the long-term problems that head injuries cause.

     

    But a recent study suggests that the number of serious head injuries in mixed martial arts participants could double those of pro football players.

     

    Concerned about the risks and the lack of data on the subject of brain injury in MMA, a group of researchers conducted a study by watching footage of over 800 matches. They counted both the knockouts and the technical knockouts (when the referee decides that the player is too dazed to continue). They also compared the information to statistics about the competitors to determine risk factors.

     

    They found that 12.7 percent of matches ended with contestants suffering a knockout, and 19 percent of matches ended with a technical knockout. In short, almost one third of matches ended as a result of head injury.

     

    So, as in many sports of late, talk has begun about the possibility of changing rules in order to better protect athletes’ heads, especially with its recent explosion of popularity. Due to its inherently rough and physical if not violent nature, there is even talk of banning all children from participation.

     

    The numbers are staggering and concerning, a harsh reminder of the risks inherent in contact sports, so no matter what your sport of choice, remember to play it safer and protect your head.

    *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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