The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the body that governs most college sports nationwide, has made concussions among student athletes a priority recently, after many years of discussion. One thing they did earlier this year was to establish the Concussion Safety Protocol Committee (CSPC), which will attempt to encourage schools to develop and implement written procedures for handling concussions, and then review and approve these procedures annually.
NCAA athlete concussion injuries is an important issue; one that, if handled properly, can save the lives and the livelihoods of college athletes, not just in sports, but in whatever they do in their life after college. However, it is a problem that many experts claim the NCAA ignored for far too many years, resisting a number of calls to create rules designed to better diagnose, treat and prevent brain injuries, which can be debilitating for many people.
When Do Concussions Occur?
Concussions occur because the brain is made of soft tissue surrounded by spinal fluid and encased in a hard shell; the skull. When an athlete sustains a concussion, the impact or the sudden movement jolts the brain, which can cause nerve damage, bruising to the brain or damage to blood vessels in your head. Any or all of these can cause problems on the short term, including dizziness, confusion, a loss of equilibrium or it can cause them to lose consciousness. In some cases, it can also cause nausea, vomiting, headaches, depression and even amnesia.
While symptoms don’t seem to last for most people, recent studies indicate that the effects of a concussion don’t necessarily disappear when the early symptoms fade. According to a research paper released in 2013, the damage to the brain caused by the initial trauma may actually last for decades. For that study, researchers conducted a number of visual and auditory tests and tested the brain chemistry of athletes who had suffered concussions during their playing careers, in order to determine the extent of any possible damage. What they found was that abnormal brain activity stuck around for many years after the concussion. They also noted a partial decay of the motor pathways, which is believed to lead to adult attention deficit disorder, or ADD.
Another study compared the brains of healthy athletes with those of athletes who had suffered a concussion at least 30 years earlier, and found symptoms reminiscent of people with early onset Parkinson’s Disease, in addition to the aforementioned problems with memory and attention deficits. Further tests on the older ex-athletes revealed a thinning of the cerebral cortex similar to those affected by Alzheimer’s Disease.
Are Recent Scientific Studies Too Late?
Even now, as more and more experts and studies are coming forward to warn of a serious problem, there are many who believe that any effort may be too little, too late, and that the efforts being undertaken now are indeed exactly that. Finally, the NCAA has embarked on a three-year study, along with the Department of Defense, to track the effects of concussion on student-athletes. The study, which will cost $30 million, will cull medical data from more than 36,000 such athletes and examine it for clues as to what happens to them in subsequent years. In addition, they will mandate schools to report on concussions to the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research, which will put together the data to examine injuries, recovery and training data related to a number of sports.
Again, while this and a number of efforts undertaken by the NCAA recently are better than nothing, one has to wonder what took so long. Even now, there are promises of progress, but what they’re doing now seems to be less than they could do. For example, the newly-formed CSPC cannot penalize a school whose procedures are inadequate, or if they don’t follow them exactly.
Contact NCAA Athlete Concussion Lawyers Today
If you were or are an NCAA athlete, and you have suffered a sports-related concussion, you may have a legal claim. Contact Raizner Slania today for a no cost, confidential review of your individual facts. We are here to help.