Sports, Athletes and Brain Injuries

 

By Dr. Farzad Farahmand

 

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that causes dysfunction of the brain and can be caused by a direct blow to the head, a jolt to the body, or a rapid acceleration/deceleration of the brain within the skull. The brain is fairly soft and squishy and it’s very sensitive to being hit against the hard bones that make up the head.  Essentially, the brain is being bruised. Bruise equals bleeding.  Just like there are different types of bruises from mild to severe, there are different levels of brain injuries from mild to significant bleeding of the brain. Only this time it isn’t muscles that need to heal but it’s the circuitry of your brain.  In severe cases with internal bleeding of the brain, the skull causes brain pressure to increase since blood has nowhere to go.  This can be fatal.

 

Concussions are traumatic head injuries that occur from both mild and severe blows to the head. Some head injuries may appear to be mild but research is finding that concussions can have serious long term effects, especially repetitive head injuries or cumulative concussions.  A concussion is typically caused by a severe head trauma during which the brain moves violently within the skull. The brain cells all fire at once, much like a seizure. Some studies show that patients who suffer a concussion appear to have the brain activity of people in a coma.  It may result from a fall in which the head strikes against an object, or a moving object strikes the head.  This may cause loss of consciousness.

 

In 2004, the National Football League (NFL) concussion studies found that 58 out of the 623 professional football players who suffered a concussion also had a loss of consciousness.  This is about 10% of all the professional football players.

 

Signs and Symptoms of concussion

 

Early Concussion Symptoms May Include:

 

  • Confusion

  • Depression

  • Disorientation

  • Memory loss

  • Mood Swings

  • Unconsciousness

  • Unequal size pupils

  • Headache

  • Dizziness

  • Tinnitus

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Vision changes

 

Late Concussion Symptoms May Include:

 

  • Memory disturbances

  • Poor concentration

  • Irritability

  • Sleep disturbances

  • Personality changes

  • Obsessive/Compulsive thought and behavioral disorders

  • Paranoia

  • Fatigue

 

 

How does Brain Concussion affect football players and other sports athletes?

 

Post Concussion Syndrome is often not diagnosed correctly.  Players usually get concussion and they shake it off and go back to playing the next week.  And then they start noticing that bright lights bother them, and they have headaches, problems sleeping, and mood swings.  Some players have even committed suicide since they suffered from long term debilitating depression, had difficulty concentrating and couldn’t work on a daily basis.

 

 

Depression and Cognitive Deficits:

 

Depression is one of the many symptoms experienced by athletes following concussion.  In fact, some research finds that depression in head trauma patients can be as high as 40%.  Several studies have also shown a link between a history of brain injury and a higher probability of developing major depression later in life.

 

One study on concussion in athletes from the Montreal Neurological Institute of McGill University identified a neurological basis of depression in athletes who have had concussions. Imaging tests done with functional MRI on athletes who had depression following a concussion showed the same pattern of brain activation as patients with major depression.

 

A study by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine reported finding structural changes in the white matter of the brains of patients with head injuries, with the most severe head injuries showing the most structural change. These structural changes correlate to cognitive deficits in thinking, memory and attention.

 

They also found that some mild head injuries caused damage only to the outer surface of the nerve (The Myelin Sheath of the axons), which may be able to be repaired, but more severe head injuries caused damage to the axon itself, which may not be as easily repaired. If an axon is damaged, it is unlikely that it can repair itself.

 

 

Pituitary Hormone Deficiency and Brain Injury:

 

Pituitary hormone deficiency may result from head trauma or subarachnoid hemorrhage.  Recent studies show that one or more pituitary hormones may be affected by traumatic brain injury or subarachnoid hemorrhage. 

 

A deficiency of one or more of the hormones regulated by the pituitary gland may have physical and/or psychological effects such as:

 

  • Reduced muscle mass

  • Weakness

  • Decreased exercise capacity

  • Fatigue

  • Irritability

  • Depression

  • Impaired memory

  • Decreased sex drive.

 

Most patients do not even realize that they have the hormone deficiency until specific laboratory tests for this disorder are performed. However, individuals with a history of a moderate to severe brain injury are more likely to have a pituitary deficiency than those with a mild brain injury.

 

The likelihood of pituitary damage exists even if the injury occurred years ago.  The pituitary gland, hypothalamus, and the surrounding structures, including their blood supply, may have been injured.

Damage to the pituitary gland causes a condition called hypopituitarism, a loss or reduction in the normal activity of the pituitary gland.  Hypopituitarism means that any pituitary hormone can be deficient.

 

The pituitary is a pea-sized gland at the base of the brain. Pituitary hormones are important because they regulate other hormones from the thyroid, gonads (ovaries and testes), and adrenals (cortisone).  Prolactin, oxytocin, and ADH (antidiuretic hormone) may also be affected by brain injury, but the incidence is less common. These hormones are chemical messengers that target vital organs that control vital functions.

 

The Normalizing Brain Function Formula designed by the world renowned researcher Dr. Salar Farahmand, has been receiving international attention, including recognition from Dr. John Gray Ph.D, the author of the famous book, “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus”.

 

For over 20 years, patients with history of Brain Concussion have been seeing dramatic improvements in their related symptoms.

 

For more information on Dr. Salar’s research formula for Mild Traumatic Brain injuries, you can refer to page 300 of John Gray’s book, “Mars & Venus Diet & Exercise Solutions”.

 

 

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For a Free phone consultation, please call:

 

818 501 2000

 

Farzad Farahmand, D.C.

22020 Clarendon Street, Suite 101

Woodland Hills, Ca. 91367