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Head Trauma in Professional Football Players: Implications for the Brain, the Game, and Society

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Sports related concussions, or mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBI), have recently increased in prevalence, and thus gained a great deal of recognition from the public and the media. While the

Sports related concussions, or mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBI), have recently increased in prevalence, and thus gained a great deal of recognition from the public and the media. While the acute symptoms associated with concussions are well known, which include headaches, dizziness, vomiting, and fatigue, recent research has indicated that there can be severe chronic consequences of multiple conditions. Most notably, a disease called Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) has been linked to multiple mTBIs, which produces symptoms similar to Alzheimer's disease and dementia, in addition to personality changes, increased suicidality, and in some cases death. This knowledge has led the NFL to take steps to protect their players, and increase both the understanding and awareness of the problems associated with multiple concussions. This comes with many problems, however, as players and fans alike are quick to resist any type of change to the rules or policies present in football, in fear that it may damage the integrity of the game. The NFL is thus forced into a difficult position, and must balance public opinion and player safety. There are things that can be done, however, that do not threaten the game itself, such as investing in concussion research and safety equipment design that will more effectively protect the brain from concussions.

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  • 2013-05

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FIRMA: Force Impact Recognition Mouth Guard for Athletes, a Validation Study

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Concussions and traumatic brain injuries are mechanical events which can derive from no specific activity or event. However, these injuries occur often during athletic and sporting events but many athletes

Concussions and traumatic brain injuries are mechanical events which can derive from no specific activity or event. However, these injuries occur often during athletic and sporting events but many athletes experiencing these symptoms go undiagnosed and continue playing without proper medical attention. The current gold standard for diagnosing athletes with concussions is to have medical professionals on the sidelines of events to perform qualitative standardized assessments which may not be performed frequently enough and are not specialized for each athlete. The purpose of this report is to discuss a study sanctioned by Arizona State University's Project HoneyBee and additional affiliations to validate a third-party mouth guard device product to recognize and detect force impacts blown to an athlete's head during athletic activity. Current technology in health monitoring medical devices can allow users to apply this device as an additional safety mechanism for early concussion awareness and diagnosis. This report includes the materials and methods used for experimentation, the discussion of its results, and the complications which occurred and areas for improvement during the preliminary efforts of this project. Participants in the study were five non-varsity ASU Wrestling athletes who volunteered to wear a third-party mouth guard device during sparring contact at practice. Following a needed calibration period for the devices, results were recorded both through visual observation and with the mouth guard devices using an accelerometer and gyroscope. This study provided a sound understanding for the operation and functionality of the mouth guard devices. The mouth guard devices have the capability to provide fundamental avenues of research for future investigations.

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  • 2016-12

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Concussions and Secondary Impact Syndrome in High School and College Athletes

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Students' health is directly affected by concussions received while playing sports. While concussions are an increasingly talked about topic in professional sports there are still millions of youth athletes who

Students' health is directly affected by concussions received while playing sports. While concussions are an increasingly talked about topic in professional sports there are still millions of youth athletes who sustain concussions every year. My creative project takes a look at the education of concussions and how schools can help minimize the impact concussions can have on their students.

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  • 2015-05