Friday, March 25, 2011

Repetitive head hits can bring lifelong repercussions

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KRCU) - The long-term impacts of concussions and repeated hits to the head lead to greater incidence of dementia and other disorders later in life.

That’s the message that Chris Nowinski brought to St. Francis Medical Center on Thursday. Nowinskispoke with about 40 junior high and high school coaches about concussions and a degenerative brain disorder called Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, or CTE.

"What we’re finding is that hits to the head as a young person will spark this degenerative process that will follow you for the rest of your life and in a lot of ways will destroy your life. That means that we need to be much careful with not only concussions but also sub-concussive hits. Just the repetitive hits to your head that don’t cause symptoms but frankly are still bad for your brain," Nowinski says.

Symptoms of CTE include short term memory loss, violent outbursts, loss of impulse control, and depression.

CTE can only be diagnosed post-mortem. Dave Duerson of the NFL’s Chicago Bears committed suicide in February of this year. Study of his brain suggests that he suffered from CTE.

Nowinski is the president and CEO of Sports Legacy Institute in Boston, Massachusetts. Nowinski is aHarvard graduate and former professional wrestler who retired from the WWE in 2003 after at least 6 concussions.

Jacob McCleland, KRCU


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