Concussions: Athletes, Soldiers and Long-Term Effects

Brain Injury Specialists at Barnes-Jewish HosptialMarch is Brain Injury Awareness Month, and Barnes-Jewish Hospital wants to remind people that brain injuries can affect anyone. Concussions are the most common form of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and are the result of a blow, jolt or bump to the head that disrupts the normal function of the brain. Since anyone can sustain a brain injury, it is important for everyone to have access to comprehensive rehabilitation and ongoing disease management.

According to the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA), every year in the United States:

  • 2.2 million people are treated in emergency departments
  • More than 50,000 people suffer from TBI
  • More than 5.3 million people are living with TBI-related disabilities
  • 280,000 people are hospitalized for TBI
  • Every 13 seconds, someone sustains a TBI
  • Falls, car accidents and workplace accidents account for more than 70 percent of TBIs

ESPN recently announced that San Francisco 49ers linebacker Chris Borland, one of the NFL’s top rookies, is retiring because he is concerned about the long-term effects of repetitive head trauma. This decision makes Borland one of the most prominent NFL players to leave the game in the prime of his career over fears of long-term injury. Borland has scheduled baseline tests to monitor his neurological well-being going forward and to contribute to the body of research examining TBI and its effects. Athletes are often the public faces of brain injury awareness and numerous studies have shown connections between the repetitive head trauma associated with football and the long-term effects of brain damage, depression and memory loss.

New research from Washington University School of Medicine finds that early psychological symptoms may be a predictor of later disability in military personnel with mild concussions. The study also suggests that mild concussions have more severe long-term effects than previously thought, including difficulty returning to previous work, family and social activities. The results raise questions about how best to treat U.S. troops who suffer head injuries.

Read more about the Washington University School of Medicine study.

People who sustain brain injuries must have timely access to expert trauma care, specialized rehabilitation, lifelong disease management and individualized services and support to live healthy, independent and satisfying lives. At Barnes-Jewish Hospital, our focus is providing safe, quality care to our patients. Working with our physician partners at Washington University School of Medicine, we continuously improve our processes and systems to ensure we take exceptional care of our patients.

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Category: Neurology & Neurosurgery

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Barnes-Jewish Hospital at Washington University Medical Center is the largest hospital in Missouri and the largest private employer in the St. Louis region. An affiliated teaching hospital of Washington University School of Medicine, Barnes-Jewish Hospital has a 1,800 member medical staff with many who are recognized as "Best Doctors in America." They are supported by residents, interns and fellows, in addition to nurses, technicians and other health-care professionals.

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