geldefender® Blog

  • Football season's starting, so watch out for your heads!

    The NFL preseason is underway, and eight professional football players are currently in the league’s concussion protocol.

     

    The season hasn’t truly begun, but already these men (and quite a few others who’ve gone through the protocol and been cleared already) have suffered concussions. These are the first of the doubtless scores to come as the year progresses.

     

     

    Football is dangerous, and it’s particularly dangerous to your head. That’s not a secret, but it is worth repeating as a new season is getting started. So whether you’re playing football or another sport this fall, be careful, and be sure to look out for your brain. You only get one.

     

    *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.

  • Is Ellie Downie's perseverance really a success story?

    The first week of the Olympics is over, the second has begun, and the world’s eyes are fixed on Rio and the athletes that have congregated there. One of the defining characteristics of Olympians is their incredible drive to succeed, to win, to power through obstacles.

     

    That drive was never more apparent than when British gymnast Ellie Downie fell hard on her head and neck during her floor routine for the qualification round. Afterward, she got up and tried to continue for a few seconds before conceding that she couldn’t continue, stepping out of bounds and shaking her head with a dazed look on her face.

     

     

    She was helped off and evaluated, but she was supposed to be back in action almost immediately. Her symptoms were heavily indicative of some sort of head injury, and doctors recommended she not to do the two vaults she was due to complete.

     

    But she did anyway. She vaulted twice to help her team qualify, and then she competed again for the team finals.

     

    In most sports and at most levels, such fall would have immediately forced the athlete in question to be evaluated for a concussion, and an athlete who shared Downie’s symptoms would have almost certainly been taken out of competition. But even if the athlete was deemed fit enough to return, the decision would not have been made by the athlete; it would have been made by medical personnel.

     

    The stage doesn’t get any bigger or the pressure more tangible than at the Olympics. Downie has been praised for her determination and spirit, and her perseverance through the injury certainly was a testament to her mettle. Especially when considering the other women on her team counting on her performance to continue to the finals, her actions could be seen as noble.

     

    But should we be treating this as a success story? Downie was very likely concussed, and by now we know how dangerous continuing physical activity with a concussion can be. Even if she was healthy, she made the decision to continue against advice from her coach and medical staff. Is this the something we want the next generation of athletes to aspire to? Ellie Downie’s courage, while admirable, is not the point; the example she is setting for the rest of the world is.

     

    *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.

  • Earnhardt Jr. candidly sheds light on his concussion recovery

    Of the several high-profile concussions in the news recently, none have made headlines quite like race car driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s.

     

     

    Earnhardt has already missed every race since his July 12 concussion and will continue to miss for at least two more weeks. He’s still wrestling with balance and sight problems as well as nausea.

     

    He has been incredibly open and honest about his injury and recovery, discussing his treatment and personal feelings in-depth on his podcast “The Dale Jr. Download” and thereby showcasing how detrimental concussions can be. "This is scary for me because of the way it's been different,” he recently said. “I'm having balance issues. I've never had balance issues before. "

     

    His continual candidness has brought the public’s attention to what concussion victims can go through as well as the importance of allowing oneself time to heal, despite strong impatience to return to normal routines. He has done what few still-active athletes have been willing to – giving a glimpse into his time of weakness – and in the process has shed new light on the seriousness of concussions.

     

    *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.

  • NHL commissioner disputes link between concussion and CTE

    When the NFL's senior vice president for health and safety publicly recognized the link between concussions and CTE, it seemed that the last hold-out against the two’s correlation had finally conceded that battle. After, all, no one had as much to lose from the discovery as the NFL, so with the league’s public acknowledgement the matter was considered settled.

     

    Until NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman spoke out this week. He claimed, “The science regarding CTE, including on the asserted ‘link’ to concussions . . . remains nascent, particularly with respect to what causes CTE.” He went on to claim that a link between concussions and CTE “has not been demonstrated” and that the relationship between the two “remains unknown.”

     

    His 24-page statement was a response to Senator Richard Blumenthal, who had questioned him about long-term head injury dangers. His choice of words may have influenced somewhat by the lawsuit that 105 former NHL players have filed against the league.

     

    He’s reopened a debate that seemed more or less closed, rehashing old arguments that the NFL staunchly defended for years before changing its tune in March. His remarks represent a step back in the dialogue, but what we really need is forward movement in the prevention, detection, and treatment of both concussions and CTE. Our energy should be focused on solving the problems that concussions present; arguing about whether they exist does nothing but drag us backward.

     

    *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.

  • Widespread concussion problem in synchronized swimming needs an answer

    It’s no secret that concussions and football have become practically synonymous in recent years. Now, the attention has inspired scrutiny of lesser-known sports for similar problems. The trend’s newest sport? Synchronized swimming.

     

    The New York Times recent reported that at least 50 percent of synchronized swimmers are estimated to have sustained a concussion, though that may be a gross underestimation. Myriam Glez, chief executive of the sport’s national organizing body, told the NYT that it’s likely that every single one has been concussed at some point. It’s difficult for swimmers underwater to protect their heads from all angles in such tight formations, so crashing into one another is a regular occurrence.

     

    The sport is peripheral in the public’s awareness at best, so it’s no surprise that such a widespread and dangerous problem has flown under the radar thus far. But now that it’s been noticed, it’s crucial that a solution be found. Concussions should be a rarity in any sport, but in synchronized swimming it seems to be the rule. It’s time for that to change.

     

    *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.

  • One in three water polo players suffer concussions, survey says

    A recent survey suggests that more than one in three water polo players have suffered concussions during games or practice.

     

    According to the poll conducted by UC Irvine, goalies in particular are at risk, with 47 percent reporting having received concussions. Additionally, more women reported at least one concussion than men (43.5 percent and 30.8 percent respectively of the 1,500 who completed the survey).

     

    Since water polo boasts fewer athletes than football or hockey, it is often overlooked, resulting in less attention to the wellbeing of its players. But clearly concussions are more prevalent in the sport than was previously realized. If a third of the players sustain concussions (to say nothing of those who weren’t diagnosed), better head protection and safer play strategies need to be implemented, and those involved need to learn how to spot and properly handle concussions once they occur.

     

    This survey is a wake-up call; water polo as a sport needs to heed 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.

  • Nearly 1 million children's concussions go untreated yearly, report says

    An estimated half of the concussions sustained by children in sports and recreational activities go untreated, according to a new study.

     

    The University of Washington, along with the University of Colorado and the Seattle Children’s Research Institute, reported that 1.1 – 1.9 million U.S. kids sustain concussions through sports or other recreational activities yearly. But the study claims that only half of them are reported to a doctor, leaving almost 1 million children to go untreated.

     

    This is a deeply disturbing number, especially when considering the likelihood of multiple concussions in some sports and activities. Even if we assume a generous margin of error, the sheer volume of children suffering concussions is stunning. That half of them are going unacknowledged, given what we now know about how concussions can affect long-term health, is cause for serious alarm and self-evaluation. Coaches, parents, organizers, and players should all look at how they can be more vigilant about head safety and concussion spotting. Maybe next year, 1 million heads won’t fall through the cracks.

     

    *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.

  • UK to begin study of concussions in jockeys

    The University of Kentucky along with the Jockeys’ Guild will soon be beginning a three-year study to develop a national concussion management protocol in horseracing.

     

    All riders at Kentucky’s Thoroughbred tracks will be given baseline tests before riding and then be retested after falls, a process similar to many sideline tests in other sports. The data will be compiled to create a standard protocol that can hopefully be applied to every track in the country.

     

    While racing doesn’t carry the same risk of repetitive contact as some other sports, a jockey’s head injury from a fall can be just as catastrophic and detrimental as a similar injury in football or soccer. Hopefully this new initiative will yield better protections and treatments for jockeys in the future and a safer sport all around.

     

    *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.

  • Study: Sub-concussive hits may cause impaired eye function

    Researchers have recently discovered yet another scary side effect of blows to the head: impaired eye function.

     

    Repeated hits, even sub-concussive ones, can lead to issues with the eyes’ ability to focus, a new study reveals. Although it’s unclear whether the effects could be long-term – more research is needed, though the issues seem to heal naturally about three weeks postseason – this new development could be a valuable diagnostic tool. Even smaller impacts that don’t lead to concussions can now be evaluated and measured for their severity.

     

    In the five practices studied, 1,200 sub-concussive hits were recorded to the 29 football players’ heads, and those who were hit more than 40 times gradually had more and more trouble with their eyes’ ability to focus without double vision. In the future, if players are tested for similar effects at regular points during the season, the ones who are suffering from the repeated blows could be given proper treatment, even if no concussion is diagnosed.

     

    *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.

  • Cheerleading concussion numbers higher than football's at UGA

    Despite the repeated concussion awareness boosts in recent years for football, hockey, baseball, rugby, and many others, cheerleading concussions have rarely been discussed.

     

    This is concerning because cheerleaders’ heads are at risk every time they attempt a stunt or a gymnastic maneuver. In fact, the University of Georgia sports medicine director recently said that the university had seen more concussions in cheerleading than in either football or soccer.

     

     

    Practicing and perfecting cheerleading routines is a long and hazardous process, and with every failed attempt, every fall or bad landing, the participants are running the danger of a concussion. And since cheerleaders typically don’t wear any form of head protection, they are even more susceptible to head injury.

     

    Perhaps the sport should begin normalizing some form of head protection during practices. While it would be impractical and less necessary for cheerleaders to wear head safety equipment while performing their finalized routines, let’s minimize the risk to their heads while they prepare that finished product.

     

    *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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