Brain Injuries from Sports

Posted in: Activity, Badminton, Biology, Brain, Disease, Health, Human Brain, Olympic Games, Osteoporosis, Samples, Science, Sports, Sportsmanship

Head injuries are quite common and occur regularly in all contact sports. Concussions, from brain injuries can cause long term effects and can lead to dementia. Too many concussions occur in high school athletes that participate in contact sports. One may suggest that contact sports should be banned from all high schools. Non contact sports should become a part of the physical education curriculum so that young adults should not have to suffer the consequences from head injuries in contact sports. There are a large number of dangerous contact sports that athletes participate in today.

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Examples of the most common contact sports include: football, basketball, soccer, wrestling, field hockey, and lacrosse. Research suggests that these sports have the most severe injuries. High school students that participate in contact sports are endangering their health, lives, and future. Football is widely viewed by millions of spectators season after season. Recent research shows that “High school players sustained 43 head injuries from 1995-2004 in which there was incomplete recovery and college players sustained five head injuries from 1995-2004 in which there was incomplete recovery“ (“Sports-Related Head Injuries” 3).

These statistics are important because they show how football can be considered unsafe for young athletes. If football was abolished from high schools there would be a significant decrease in the amount of head injuries in not only high school athletes, but college athletes as well. This is because a lot of universities recruit star athletes from their high school teams. When there is an absence of high school teams, the amount of head injuries in college students will decrease. League officials have also stated that “there are about 160 concussions in the National Football League every year“ (Sports-Related Head Injuries“ 3).

This is unacceptable. If this statistic only includes football players, imagine how many concussions are suffered each year when all other contact sports are also included. In the game of football, quarterbacks suffer the greatest risk of sustaining a concussion. Wide receivers are next to sustain concussions, followed by tight ends and defense men. Impact from another players helmet account for a great portion of concussions in football. According to the book titled “The Heads Up On Sport Concussion,” “About 11% of concussions are caused by ground contact “ (72).

It is believed that educating and reeducating football players about proper tackling techniques could prevent some concussions. A formal educational program designed to inform professional players about the signs and symptoms of a concussion would be beneficial. The continuation of research would also help to better understand the possible long term consequences of concussions for all athletes. The book titled “Play Hard, Die Young” was written by Bennet Omalu. Omalu introduces the term “gridiron dementia. This term can be defined as a permanent brain damage that is a result of multiple brain injuries, specifically during contact sports.

Omalu supports this idea by stating, “there is no doubt in my mind that in the near future Basketball is another contact sport that causes head injuries. The game has become faster, more physical, and the guys are so big and strong; that the collisions are going to be more severe. According to an article from the New York Times, “Head injuries have increased 6. 2% over the past 15 years and concussions resulted in 3. % of the injuries that were reported”(“As College Basketball Grows, Concussions Are a Side Effect” 1).

This shows how the number of concussions seen in basketball players is an issue that must be addressed. In addition, “Female basketball players were three times more likely to sustain a concussion than men” (“As College Basketball Grows, Concussions Are a Side Effect” 1). This allows readers to see that women need more protection and treatment than men. This statistic shows another reason for the elimination of contact sports from high schools.

Moreover, “Players come out of high school with more muscle and bulk than players twenty years ago and over the past ten years, players six feet nine inches or taller increased from 649 in the 2001 season to 681 in 2009” (“As College Basketball Grows, Concussions Are a Side Effect” 2). The importance of this example is to show how athletes have increased in height and overall size. This means that a collision will have much more impact than it did it past. This will result in injuries that will most likely lead to permanent damage and possibly death.

Head injuries have not gotten the same publicity in basketball as they would get in football. However, the coaches and the trainers understand the long-term effects from a concussion. The seriousness of head injuries is more understood. Players have been reporting concussions and coaches have been keeping players out of the game until their symptoms subside. The more times that concussions are reported, the better the short term treatment and the prevention of long term problems. Millions of people play soccer. It is one of the most popular team sports in the world.

There is a very large amount of soccer fans that watch the World Cup Soccer Championship. In the game of soccer, the head is used to bounce balls going at a very fast speed. The most common cause of a concussion is when two players collide and they hit their heads into each other. The second most common cause of a concussion is when a player is struck in the head by a ball that is kicked from close by. Players suffer headaches lasting from a few seconds to several days. Soccer players were known to perform poorly on IQ Tests and many suffer from the loss of concentration and memory.

Players who head the ball were known to have more neurological problems, that non-headers. Some people believe that young players should wear helmets to reduce and minimize head injuries. Players should have proper instruction on the correct way to head the ball. The should also be the appropriate size for the age of the player, and the ball should be properly inflated. Goal posts should be padded to lessen head injuries. The authors of “Heads Up On Concussion” “have shown that “25% to more than 40% of soccer athletes have sustained a concussion by the end of their high school career” (83).

The article titled “Kids and Concussions: The Effects of Head Injures in Young Athletes” was written by Matthew Stanmyre and Jackie Friedman. Both authors state how, “Debbie Kusners son, Christopher, sustained a fractured skull and bleeding when he crashed heads with an opponent during a soccer game at age 13” (6). This tragic example indicates how young children can be severely injured from playing contact sports. Their minds are still developing therefore, when they receive head injuries it takes longer to recover and the effects are more severe.

It is very difficult for the parents to tell their child they can no longer continue playing their favorite sport. Debbie Kusner tells her husband, “Everything these days are contact, what are we going to do? – put him in ballet? ” (Stanmyre, Matthew and Friedman, Jackie 7). Parents do not know if they should let their child live their passion at risk or hold them back to ensure the safety of their child. The sport of field hockey has been observed by professionals in a recent study.

According to the National Collegiate Athletic Association, “Game injury rates showed a significant average annual 2. % decline over 15 years, most likely fueled by drops in ankle ligament sprain, knee internal derangement, and finger fracture injuries” (“Field Hockey Injuries: National Collegiate Athletic Association Injury Surveillance System“ 1). Field hockey used to be a contact sport that was associated with injuries to the knee, ankle, shoulder, and thigh. Today, “Concussion and head laceration injuries increased and the risk of sustaining a concussion in a game was 6 times higher than the risk of sustaining one during practice” (“Field Hockey Injuries: National Collegiate Athletic Association Injury Surveillance System“ 1).

Athletes that play field hockey are at a much higher risk for sustaining a head injury. If there is no effort to improve this issue, it is possible that these condition will worsen. The fact that athletes were more susceptible to receiving a concussion during a game shows how serious the athletes are about competing in field hockey. It shows they put in all their energy, strength, and devotion to strive for victory and success. Wrestling is one of the oldest sports in the world; being in the first Olympic games. Wrestling is both a contact and collision sport.

The authors of the article titled “Investigating Wrestling Injuries“ states, “There are two common styles of wrestling; freestyle and Greco Roman; both having the common goal of pinning the opponent. It is also a highly anaerobic sport“(“Investigating Wrestling Injuries”1). An anaerobic sport reduces the amount of available oxygen, requiring power and strength during each match. A match may last up to ten minutes in an official competition. It is very important to have a properly, well planned training program to reduce injuries and to increase performance.

At the collegiate and high school levels, “Most injuries occur in the neutral position during take down“ (“Investigating Wrestling Injuries”1). In the sport of wrestling, “Head injures are only seen about 8% of the time” (“Investigating Wrestling Injuries”1). To limit injuries in the sport it is suggested that “Wrestling should begin early in the season to give wrestlers more training time and to better prepare them for competition“(“Investigating Wrestling Injuries”1). Limiting the amount of time practicing may also decrease the number of injuries. Athletes that participate in lacrosse are at risk for head injuries.

Shane V. Caswell and Richard G. Deivert explain how, “Comparable with football and ice hockey, lacrosse involves high-mass, high-velocity, body-to-body collisions, and low-mass, high-velocity, object-to-body impacts that are inherent to the sport and can cause serious, life threatening injuries” (Caswell Shane and Deivert Richard 2). This reinforces the idea that head injuries must be eliminated. According to the National Collegiate Athletic Association, “head injuries accounted for 13% of game related incidents” (Caswell Shane and Deivert Richard 2).

Repeated or multiple head injuries may result in second impact syndrome and permanent cognitive damage. Second impact syndrome refers to a situation where an athlete has suffered multiple concussions. This is dangerous because the athlete may receive a blow to the head when a previous concussion is not completely healed. Male lacrosse players are required to wear helmets while females are not allowed to wear helmets or faceguards. This fact is important because shows the need for safety gear for female lacrosse players.

Women now have a higher risk of receiving a head injury simply because women’s lacrosse is basically onsidered a non-contact sport. It is important for lacrosse players to know that all lacrosse equipment is tested before they are purchased by customers. Caswell and Deivert inform readers that “Tolerance curves such as the Head Injury Criterion and the Gadd Severity Index (GSI), have been developed to define a criterion for distinguishing between impacts likely to produce a brain injury from impacts that are less serious” (Caswell Shane and Deivert Richard 3). An experiment was conducted to determine the safest helmet for male lacrosse players.

The dependent variable was the GSI measuring impact forces and the independent variable was the different helmet styles. Since “no revisions in the GSI standards have been made in over twenty years, findings indicate a decreasing capacity of the helmets to dissipate forces with repetitive impacts” (Caswell Shane and Deivert Richard 3). The results of this experiment shows how helmets are not strong enough to protect a player from multiple impacts. Having helmet safety standards are essential in reducing the number of head injuries. One can clearly see that contact sports are harmful to a large number of athletes.

There are several non-contact sports that focus on only benefiting the players of that particular sport. These sports include: badminton, golf, tennis, and swimming. Athletes that receive injuries from contact sports should definitely look into joining a non-contact sport team. High schools should encourage participation in the sports that are less dangerous. Around the world, the game of badminton has become very popular. Since the year 2007, “Over 4 million people have shown an interest in playing badminton” and the number is increasing (Chew 1). The game is fun and exciting.

Little is known about the health benefits of playing this game. One strong health benefit is the strengthening and the improvement of the cardiovascular system. The game involves a lot of sudden and rapid movements as well as slow paced movements. Jumps, leaps, stretches, and sprints are some of the many movements needed to play an intense game of badminton. These activities get the heart racing and “Playing once or twice a week for an hour will help maintain a healthy metabolism rate“ (Chew 2). Another benefit of playing badminton; it helps burn fat. The game is a high, intense exercise.

Burning fat while playing badminton is much more fun than walking. According to Henry Chew, It also “burns twice as much fat than walking and is much more entertaining“ (2). Delaying signs of old age is another benefit of playing badminton. Health advisors say that “playing badminton helps prevent osteoporosis and promotes the activity of bone forming cells“ (Chew 2). Chew in forms readers that “Osteoporosis occurs because of weak and low density bones“ (2). As we get older it helps to improve upon balance and body coordination. Badminton also helps relieve stress and greatly improves sleeplessness.

It is a game a total body workout and can be intense if played with a skilled a player. The game of golf is the attempt to hit a golf ball into a hole with the least amount of tries. The ball is hit with a club which comes in various lengths, weights, and materials to accomplish this goal. According to Constance, “An eighteen hole golf course is between three and five miles, walking distance“ (1). Some benefits of playing golf are building muscle strength and flexibility. An example of this is using the upper and lower body muscles when swinging a golf club.

Lang states, “Another benefit from playing golf is a cardiovascular workout“ (1). When playing eighteen holes, one will be walking about five miles. Walking is a low impact workout and has less stress on a persons joints than running. Getting outdoors and with regular exercise the quality of sleep improves. It also will benefit an individuals psychological and physical health. While walking from hole to hole there is time to socialize with other players and friends. This helps lift a players mind and sprits.

World renowned scientists have declared that tennis is one of the best sports for an individual to play. Tennis players scored higher in vigor and self esteem, and scored lower in depression, anger, confusion, anxiety, and tension than other athletes and non-athletes” (Groppel 1). Playing tennis competitively burns more calories than other work out techniques. There are many physical reasons why one should play tennis. One reason is that it “improves cardiovascular fitness and maintains high energy levels. ” Another reason is that “It helps anaerobic fitness by intense activities followed by rest which helps muscles use oxygen efficiently (Groppel 1).

Tennis helps an individual sprint, lung, jump, and move quickly. It also gives one speed, moving side-to-side and up and back chasing the ball. This helps develop leg muscles and it “gives general body coordination by positioning and adjusting the upper body to hit ball” (Groppel 2). “Tennis benefit’s the body by providing great motor control through movement and ball hitting skills which require the use of large muscles in the body” (Groppel 2). The game of tennis helps a player improve their balance through many starts and stops, changing of direction, and hitting the ball while still in motion.

Many athletes may be unaware of the fact that “The game gives the body agility by forcing the player to change direction as many as five times in ten seconds during a match“(Groppel 2). According to the article ,“It will help bone strength and density in young players and help prevent osteoporosis in old players“ (Groppel 2). Tennis is a game for children to learn early in life. All children should benefit from playing tennis through their growing years. Adults and seniors should begin to play tennis. Tennis is an excellent sport that “strengthens the immune system through over all health, fitness, and resistance to disease“(Groppel 2).

It also strengthens eye-hand coordination because one is always judging the timing between the oncoming ball and the time to hit the ball. It is excellent for flexibility of the body because one is constantly stretching to return the ball to the opponent. There are also psychological benefits of playing the game of tennis. It develops discipline and a work ethic because improving ones skills by practicing reinforces the benefits of working hard and controls the pace of play in the game of tennis. It also teaches how to manage mistakes by playing within your ability, and that carries through in life as well as on the tennis court.

It teaches us to compete one-on-one because the ability to compete prepares us to learn how to compete in a competitive world. It prepares us to except responsibility because we have to practice more and more in order to compete with other players. Groppel states how tennis “helps us manage adversity because we must play in the hot sun and in the wind and still play hard to win the game” (Groppel 2). It helps stress effectively because the physical, mental, and emotional stress of tennis forces a player to increase the capacity of stress in real life.

It teaches sportsmanship because everyone should play fairly. It develops social skills through communication before and after a match and while changing sides of the court. There is no doubt that doctors around the world agree that tennis is the most healthy and active activity in which a person can participate. No other sport gives a player the physical, emotional, and mental benefits as the game of tennis. The human body can be trained and improved at any stage of life. “Tennis is truly the sport for a lifetime. It’s been proven” (Groppel 2).