More than 11,000 college athletes, one third women and across many sports, are being watched for concussions. It should come as no surprise that the sound bites coming out of their news conference on Monday, Jan. 21 at UCLA focus on findings that there is a “knowledge gap” about concussion, prevention and treatment. The good news is that many more players are reporting concussions and they are being held out of play for longer periods of time following concussion; 12-14 days, not 6 days. The bad news continues to be that there is no way to know when the cascade of brain damage has stopped, and while they wait to feel better the underlying brain damage is not being treated. One well established treatment is available today to help fill that gap: Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. Extensive research and clinical evidence has demonstrated that HBOT heals damaged brains.
Helmets with sensors may provide researchers with amazing new details about blows to the head, but they will be hard pressed to find a way to keep the brain from slamming into the inside of the skull when the helmet snaps violently or stops suddenly. Modern helmets protect the skull from being fractured, and they appear to do a good job of that. And they are probably more comfortable than the early days. But recent findings suggest that the more protection a player believes he or she has, the more force they use and the harder they hit. Larger, heavier helmets may also lead to more injuries in young players because their necks and shoulder muscles cannot control the rebound of a helmet off of the ground or the torque caused by a sideways blow. Prevention is great, but healing is critical.
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