Southern Impact Research Center & Broken Brain


David Halstead of the Southern Impact Research Center (SIRC) is expecting a phone call soon about the testing of helmets and his opinion on what is going on with this topic.  Halstead is a great source.  At his Center, he tests various products including football helmets, and being part of NOCSAE gives him the unique position of being an expert.  He is independent, so his information is valuable, and from this article it seems he will be firm but fair;

First, he would tell investigators that helmet manufacturers – for the most part – make excellent products that perform as they are designed, Halstead said. However, he also would tell investigators that the helmet companies don’t do an adequate job of telling athletes, coaches, parents and anyone else who straps on a helmet exactly what helmets can and cannot do, Halstead said.

“The world thinks if you put on a helmet your head should be protected from everything that should befall it. … But that’s not the case. Certain kinds of head injuries are not preventable,” Halstead said.

Although football helmets are extremely effective at reducing injury and have virtually eliminated skull fractures, it is impossible to provide 100 percent protection against concussions, given current helmet technology and what is known about how concussions occur, according to Halstead.

Roger Harris and Knoxvillebiz.com has done a good job highlighting and explaining what we have been trying to allude to here, by describing the money and importance of this information, as well as how concussions do not require hits to the head to occur.  More and more research will develop in the near future and the SIRC surely will be on the short list to get things going.

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Broken Brain – Brilliant Mind is a blog that I have highlighted from time to time, it is a good real world example of how people deal with traumatic brain injuries.  The main author explains his cause;

I am not a doctor. I do not have medical qualifications. I do not even have a completed college degree (only after I realized how deeply and invisibly TBI had affected me my entire life, could I explain why I attended 4 years of college, albeit sporadically, but couldn’t manage to get a degree). I am simply one individual who has learned how to live very effectively and even happily with the after-effects of multiple mild traumatic brain injuries. All I can offer is my own insight and experience to others like me, in hopes that it will help them live their lives more fully and with greater joy and satisfaction.

BBBM has been featuring a multiple part series on Sense of Self and how it relates to traumatic brain injury.  In the fifth posting of the series BBBM has looked into a hypothetical high school student-athlete called “Junior”;

Then one day Junior gets hurt in a critical game. A teammate’s knee catches him on the temple, and he goes down briefly. Everything goes a little dim and quiet, then “the lights come back on” and he sees his buddies standing over him, asking him if he’s okay. They seem genuinely concerned — but more about continuing the game. Not wanting to be a wuss and let his team down, Junior jumps up, says he’s okay, tightens his chinstrap, and jogs back to the huddle. He sorta kinda hears what the next play is, but when he’s getting set to go, he’s not really sure what he’s supposed to do, exactly….

See, here’s the thing — traumatic brain injury, concussion, head injury, whatever you want to call it, can cause the processing in your brain to slow significantly. And you may not even realize it, a lot of the time. When I had my neuropsych eval and the results for my processing came back significantly slower than I thought they “should be” it was pretty devastating to me. BUT it suddenly made a lot of things make sense. Especially when I looked at how I got myself back to feeling “up to speed”….

Obviously, there’s no way to tell how things might have gone. But we sure as hell can see how things CAN go, after a traumatic brain injury. It’s never too late to turn things around, but losing your sense of self can certainly do a job on a young — or older — brain and send you down a path that it would be better if you avoided.

The read is well worth your time.  Take a look.

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