Knocking heads is part of the rough and tumble action of a football game, but few things can sideline an otherwise healthy athlete faster than a concussion. To study the long-term effects of concussions, NFL Charities, an organization of the member clubs of the National Football League, has awarded a $110, 000 grant to the Head Injury Center (HIC) of the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center.
Concussions have always plagued physical sports, where contact is part of the game. But football players, such as Troy Aikman and Steve Young, are only among the most visible of the two million Americans that suffer from traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) each year. People rarely associate concussions with what they really are traumatic brain injuries, said Tracy K. McIntosh, PhD, the Robert A. Groff Professor and Director of the HIC. Brain injury is a silent epidemic in this country, affecting more lives than most people realize.
In fact, the statistics surrounding traumatic brain injuries are staggering. According to numbers compiled by the Brain Injury Association, approximately 5.3 million Americans slightly more than 2% of the US population are living with a disability as a result of a severe brain injury. TBI is the leading cause of death and disability in persons under 45 years old, occurring more frequently than breast cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, and spinal cord injury. Each year, approximately 100,000 people die from TBI, and 500,000 more are permanently disabled. Every 15 seconds, someone, usually a young person, suffers from a brain injury.
Despite these numbers, our understanding of the brains long-term response to injury is still incomplete. A brain-injured patient may look stable, but cells are still dying. Realizing this is important developing ways to recover, regenerate, and stem the loss of brain tissue, said McIntosh. We hope that by understanding the molecular and cellular sequences of events after trauma, well be able t
Contact: Greg Lester
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine