Favre revelation spotlights football concussion dangers

Favre revelation spotlights football concussion dangers

A stunning revelation by famed NFL quarterback Brett Favre last week sent shockwaves through the football franchise.

The 44-year-old, now a high school football coach, revealed that he feels like he is losing his memory.

His memory loss, the apparent result of multiple concussions he sustained during his 20-year NFL career, is putting a spotlight on the common brain injury.

Favre revealed he’s experiencing forgetfulness during an interview with Sports Talk 570 radio in Washington D.C.

Answering a question about the effect of his head injuries, Favre said, “This was a little shocking to me that I couldn’t remember my daughter playing youth soccer. It was just one summer, I think. I could remember her playing basketball…I could remember her playing volleyball…So that’s a little bit scary to me.”

The revelation may have parents worried about their student athletes who play contact sports. And current statistics suggest the concern is real.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 175,000 children suffer sports-related concussions each year. In the last 10 years, the number of sports concussions has increased by a whopping 60 percent.

A concussion is a type of mild traumatic brain injury, or TBI, caused by a blow to the head or other excessive force. An injury to the brain, which may or may not lead to a loss of consciousness, can impair a person’s physical, cognitive and even emotional behaviors for days or weeks, health experts say.

The short-term effects of concussion can include headache, seizures, dizziness, insomnia, depression, irritability, double vision, changes in smell, facial pain and the loss of memory, says Dr. Raina Gupta, a neurologist at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago. “These typically develop in the first days after mild TBI and generally stop within a few weeks or months. But any of these symptoms can persist longer.”

As in Favre’s case, there is a chance for long term problems especially after multiple concussions

“If you sustained a head injury years ago and are having persistent issues with your cognitive function, such as feeling foggy or slowed down, difficulty concentrating, memory loss or confusion, you should definitely talk to your doctor,” Dr. Gupta says.

For kids who play contact sports like football, hockey and even cheerleading, there’s no guaranteed way to protect them from getting a concussion. But parents and athletes can play smarter.

The CDC offers these tips on preventing concussions in youth sports:

  • Make sure to follow the rules for safety.
  • Practice good sportsmanship.
  • Make sure to wear the right protective equipment.
  • Equipment should fit properly.
  • Wear a helmet to reduce the risk of a serious brain injury.

Dr. Ketan Mody, sports medicine physician at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, Ill., agrees that concussions are a serious matter. Check out Dr. Mody’s video to learn more about the signs, symptoms and treatment of concussions.

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.