Protect Your Head (Your Brain is Inside)

In the States the NFL (National Football League) is being sued by many players who claim the league withheld information about the seriousness of concussions, which are part and parcel with the game.  There is mounting, and very well documented, evidence that many players suffer on-going mental impairment that increases with age.

The advent of SPECT brain imaging has allowed health care professionals to see what is happening in the brain for the first time, and what they are seeing is very disturbing—so much so that it has shaken up the entire sports industry (not to mention the school sports programmes) in the States.

Any time we bang our head or slam it into something, our soft brain is bashed against the inside of our  very hard skull.  When this kind of action is repeated time and time again, as in some kinds of sports, the long term results can be devastating.  Even if the results are mild, having impaired mental cognation and function reduces the quality of life.  Depression, disorientation, relationship problems along with alcohol and drug issues dog the lives of those left with this legacy.

When you’re young, you never seem to think of these things.

The big issue that is coming to the forefront is to educate about protecting the brain.  It’s the duty of parents, educators and sports clubs to be proactive in this, as the children are trusting us.  We need to rethink how we do some of these sports, and some like boxing need to be closely examined and evaluated as to the long term good that comes out of them.  Wearing helmets helps greatly, and hitting soccer balls with the head should be made against the rules.  It’s not a matter of ‘toughness’ or ‘coolness’, but of protecting the brain.  Tough vegetables aren’t even good to eat.

Wearing head protection when cycling, skate boarding and other activities with the potential of hitting the ground is also very important.  It’s amazing how fast a person goes down—even when they are being careful.  It’s not the speed, but the distance to the ground that matters here.

All else in life depends on the function of our brain.  Every part of our body is connected and all our decisions are made through this organ.  As one expert in brain health, Dr Daniel Amen likes to say, ‘When your brain does well, you do well, when your brain has problems, you have problems.’