Concussions are a major risk for athletes involved in hockey, football and wrestling. For some players, brain injuries may cause permanent health problems.
Researchers working with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette will conduct a brain injury study on the IceGators, a local hockey team, to research the long-term health effects of concussions.
UL-Lafayette researchers will measure baseline scores for cognitive function, balance and sleep patterns. After receiving a concussion, a player would be tested again for these functions to find differences. In addition, the researchers will measure brain inflammation and blood protein levels. Concussions cause certain proteins to be released into the bloodstream that researchers can measure.
The UL-Lafayette researchers want to study these 20 hockey players over the next five years, looking for differences in their baseline results. This would allow greater insight into the long-term health effects of concussions.
The long-term effects of concussions can cause both cognitive and emotional problems. Recent studies have suggested concussions can even raise the long-term risk of suicide. Former athletes have reported depression, anxiety and memory problems. Some of these athletes might develop chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the degenerative brain disease that gained national attention in the movie Concussion.
How Brain Injury Studies Can Help Accident Survivors
This brain injury study may help us understand how car accident survivors and other victims of negligence can be affected by concussions. We should always consider the long-term health effects of concussions. Some people may argue concussions are not a serious injury, and that notion is incorrect. People can suffer for many years after being involved in car accidents, or from slipping and falling while working in dangerous work environments.