Concussions: Doing the Right Thing

Kay Daugherty

“The perfect storm of high-profile cases in youth and professional sports, military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan, media attention, and public fascination with the National Football League (NFL)”—that’s how Richard Ellenborgen, MD, chair of the department of neurological surgery at the University of Washington and co-director of the Seattle Sports Concussion Program, described the evolution of concussion from an “invisible injury” to the focus of much scientific and nonscientific attention. Current events and the response of the NFL, the National Institutes of Health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have resulted in research, education, and advocacy concerning concussions at all levels of sports.

Frequency of concussions in sports
According to Dr. Ellenborgen, concussions are the number one cause of death and disability in adolescents worldwide. CDC data show 275,000 hospitalizations and 52,000 deaths attributable to traumatic brain injury in 2011.

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