Veteranclaims’s Blog

September 14, 2010

Subconcussive Brain Injury and TBI

chronic traumatic encephalopathy[CTE] should be on the radar of every veteran especially given the findings found among NFL players. We are talking about injuries below what the military and the VA want to admit are harmful. As we have stated before there are no insignificant brain injuries.

C.T.E.[chronic traumatic encephalopathy] — whose only known cause is repetitive brain trauma — must have developed from concussions he dismissed or from the thousands of subconcussive collisions he withstood in his dozen years of football, most of them while his brain was developing

How many veterans have suffered repetitive subconcussive brain injuries? You need to document these through incident reports, after action reports and Buddy statements, get them now in case you need them later.

Full Article at: Suicide Reveals Signs of a Disease Seen in N.F.L.
By ALAN SCHWARZ
Published: September 13, 2010

ALLENTOWN, Pa. — A brain autopsy of a University of Pennsylvania football player who killed himself in April has revealed the same trauma-induced disease found in more than 20 deceased National Football League players, raising questions of how young football players may be at risk for the disease.

Owen Thomas, a popular 6-foot-2, 240-pound junior lineman for Penn with no previous history of depression, hanged himself in his off-campus apartment after what friends and family have described as a sudden and uncharacteristic emotional collapse. Doctors at Boston University subsequently received permission from the family to examine Thomas’s brain tissue and discovered early stages of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a disease linked to depression and impulse control primarily among N.F.L. players, two of whom also committed suicide in the last 10 years.

Doctors in the Boston University group and outside it cautioned that Thomas’s suicide should not be attributed solely or even primarily to the damage in his brain, given the prevalence of suicide among college students in general. But they said that a 21-year-old’s having developed the disease so early raised the possibility that it played a role in his death, and provided arresting new evidence that the brain damage found in N.F.L. veterans can afflict younger players.

Thomas never had a diagnosis of a concussion on or off the football field or even complained of a headache, his parents said, although they acknowledged he was the kind of player who might have ignored the symptoms to stay on the field. Because of this, several doctors said, his C.T.E. — whose only known cause is repetitive brain trauma — must have developed from concussions he dismissed or from the thousands of subconcussive collisions he withstood in his dozen years of football, most of them while his brain was developing.

The idea that C.T.E. can stem from hits below the level of concussion — which are endemic to football and all but impossible for doctors to see or manage — is relatively new. Ever since C.T.E. in professional football players began making national headlines in early 2007, it has generally been ascribed to mistreated or at least cumulative concussions, for which awareness and education can be an antidote.

The diagnosis in Thomas’s case was independently confirmed by Dr. Daniel Perl, a professor of pathology at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, the medical school for the United States military.

“It’s not unreasonable that aspects of his behavior were related to the underlying brain disease that was detected,” said Dr. Perl, adding that he was speaking as an experienced neuropathologist and not on behalf of his organization. “This is real.”

He added, “This is a call for a broader range of research into this problem that extends beyond the heavy duty N.F.L. level of athletics.”

“Thomas’s parents, the Rev. Tom Thomas and the Rev. Kathy Brearley, requested that their son’s case be made public to educate other families about the possible and perhaps addressable risks of football at all levels. About 1.4 million children ages 14 to 18 play high school football every fall, and about three million others play in youth leagues at younger ages.”

“This is an issue beneath the N.F.L. level,” Mr. Thomas said. “I want people to take this seriously.”

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