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Lack of Knowledge of Concussions

by Jessica Rendfrey

I have had 3 diagnosed concussions in the past. The effect my concussions had on me over
the years since the last one happened is quite large. The third of my three concussions was
something that changed my life, it was the big rivalry game for my high school basketball team;
the last thing I remember of that day was getting off the bus at the opponent’s gym. The scariest
part was not knowing what happened from my own perspective, I had to go to the people that
were there that day to figure out what happened. It affects my day-to-day life. It infuriates me
how little brain injuries are taken seriously.

Concussions are when the brain violently shakes in the skull. Over 3.8 million concussions are
diagnosed in the United States each year (1), this does not include the possibility of millions
more undiagnosed each year. Many athletes experience some form of concussion in their
athletic careers. The highest number of concussions come from football, hockey, soccer, and
basketball. 2 in 10 high school athletes will receive a concussion in their 4 years of a high school
career, while 5 of every 10 concussions go undiagnosed (2). Concussions can have many long-
term effects, especially if not treated in a timely manner (2). Concussions’ long-term effects
have been studied to quicken the neurological decline with illnesses such as Parkinson’s and
dementia (3). The long- and short-term effects of concussions are still being researched with
them still being relatively newer, not having been super focused on until the last few decades.
An organization working towards the education of Traumatic Brain injuries, which concussions
are categorized under, is the Brain Injury Institution of America. The Brain Injury Institution is an
organization whose vision is for everyone in the United States who has sustained or will sustain
a brain injury if it gets diagnosed, treated, and accepted. Its mission is to advance
treatment, awareness, research, and education to improve the quality of life of those people
affected by Traumatic Brain Injuries. The organization has tabs on its website for those who
are caregivers, professionals, those with a brain injury, and people just wanting to help. The
website has information on the signs and symptoms, what to look for in others after a suspected
concussion hit, and what to expect in an adult or a child. Another thing the website shows is a tab
with professionals; you can find specialists, attorneys, as well as research that is being done.
The Brain Injury institution of America’s guiding principles is being the voice of brain injuries,
serving the entire field, benefiting from strong leadership, they are committed to increasing their
resources, and they also value strategic decisions and actions. First, being the voice of brain injuries to them means
being a primary resource for medical diagnosis, research, and disease management. Next,
serving the entire field, they work diligently, with dignity with those who have been impacted by
TBI’s. Then, benefiting from strong leadership, they believe in crediting those from the past and
encouraging the next generation to continue their work. Fourth, is their commitment to increasing
their resources by consistently improving their databases and expanding their knowledge.
Finally, they value strategic decisions and actions, they do this by being transparent in their
communication.

Traumatic Brain injuries like concussions need to be better advocated for because they can be
anything from simple recovery to a lifelong burden. The use of websites to better educate on concussions can be the difference between a good functioning future or having cognitive issues in the long run. They can lead to PTSD, and post-concussion disorder, as well as increase the risk of future neurological disorders like dementia and Parkinson’s disease; most of the time this happens after multiple concussions, but it only takes one to have lifelong effects. We need to
educate everyone including children in school on what the dangers are. The BIAA is a great
resource for everything in the realm of concussions because they are informative on everything
from what a concussion is to if you need an attorney after a work-related concussion. The need
for education, research, and action on concussions and their preventive measures is crucial to
this generation and all those in the future. https://www.biausa.org this is the link to the website to further educate yourself and others on concussions.

Resources:

  1. “Concussion in Athletes.” Concussion in Athletes | Michigan Medicine,
    https://www.uofmhealth.org/conditions-treatments/brain-neurological-
    conditions/concussion-athletes-neurosport.
  2. “Concussion Statistics and Facts: UPMC: Pittsburgh.” UPMC Sports Medicine,
    https://www.upmc.com/services/sports-medicine/services/concussion/about/facts-
    statistics.
  3. “With Dangers of Everyday Concussions Revealed, Scientists Race to Find Solutions.”
    With Dangers of Everyday Concussions Revealed, Scientists Race to Find Solutions |
    UC San Francisco, 28 Oct. 2021, https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2018/10/412006/dangers-
    everyday-concussions-revealed-scientists-race-find-solutions.
  4. Brain Injury Association of America, 9 Feb. 2022, https://www.biausa.org/.

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