This is serious. New research shows what we have expected for a long time; heading the ball causes immediate changes in brain function and cognitive abilities EVEN when there are no clinical signs of concussion! It is well known that after a first concussion, any subsequent concussions suffered before the brain has totally recovered multiply the damage. There is no reason to believe that just because there are no outward symptoms such as headache, that subtle damage is not being done and that it can accumulate. The metabolic and inflammatory changes may well persist and be magnified. There may be significant sub-acute damage BEFORE a concussion that is so serious that it is recognized by its symptoms. HBOT (Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy) is a safe, effective treatment that reduces inflammation and drives neurological and vascular healing. This research suggests that when there is a concussion, it should be taken very seriously. Immediate HBOT should be recommended, and there should be no “safe return to play” until all signs of concussion have resolved. Even then, we now need to consider that heading the ball can re-injure the brain without return of symptoms.
By Amy Ellis Nutt October 25