For the last couple of years, we have been looking into the connections between playing impact sports and chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a chronic and incurable brain disease related to traumatic brain injuries. We also work with TBI victims who have been hurt in auto accidents and on other people’s property (among other reasons), which has given us some additional insight into the effects of a serious brain injury on the victims and their families. We have Registered Nurses on-staff as well, who have taught us much about how a brain can be damaged when it is jostled inside of a skull.
We point this out because we are in the position of knowing much about the causes and effects of TBI. However, an interactive article in the New York Times may have set all of what we – as well as scientists, doctors and the general public – know about how the brain is injured when it is subject to force.
In a video clip, you can see a football player being hit (and hit hard) by another player. That player was wearing a special mouth guard at the time, which recorded through motion sensors exactly how the brain responded to the impact. The Times reports:
“One common belief has been that just after a person’s head (or helmet) makes contact with something – an airbag, a wall, another person – the brain within bounces around in the skull like an egg yolk in a shell, leaving bruises on the brain’s outer surface, or gray matter. Now, though, many scientists and medical experts believe that this understanding is incomplete. Yes, there is some movement in the skull, but the real damage from concussions, they say, actually occurs deeper in the brain – in the so-called white matter – as a result of fibers pulling and twisting after impact. To stick with the food analogy, think Jell-O, not an egg. You know what happens when you take a plate of Jell-O and give it a hard shake? The stretches and contortions approximate what is happening to all the wiring throughout the brain.”
In summary, forceful impact to the skull causes the interiors parts of the brain to stretch. (The Times offers a video of how that happens, which you can access through the link above.) It happens regardless of whether you sustain a few major hits or multiple, less forceful hits. We now have scientific data that shows that the helmets we give athletes (like football players, skateboarders, hockey players, and so on), the same types of helmets that we require our children to wear while they ride their bicycles, are not providing the right kind of protection from brain injuries as we thought. We hope, though, that this kind of data will spur scientists and engineers into creating new protective gear that can minimize this kind of damage. Lives could literally be depending on it.
Crandall & Pera Law offers comprehensive counsel to traumatic brain injury victims throughout Ohio and Kentucky. To speak with one of our catastrophic injury attorneys, or to learn more about our services, please fill out this contact form. You can also reach our Kentucky brain injury lawyers by calling 877.651.7764, or our Ohio TBI attorneys by calling 877.686.8879.