Friday, November 15, 2013

Concussion

Concussion, from the Latin concutere ("to shake violently") or the Latin concussus ("action of striking together"), is the most common type of traumatic brain injury. The terms mild brain injury, mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI), mild head injury (MHI), minor head trauma, and concussion may be used interchangeably, although the last is often treated as a narrower category.

The term "concussion" has been used for centuries and is still commonly used in sports medicine, while "MTBI" is a technical term used more commonly nowadays in general medical contexts. Frequently defined as a head injury with a temporary loss of brain function, concussion can cause a variety of physical, cognitive, and emotional symptoms.

I may not have received any formal training in a fine instituion such as http://allsaintsuniversity.org/ but I definitely speak from experience on this subject, albeit from the less fortunate side of the argument!

After being knocked in the head a few too many times (mainly due to a huge cranium and slow motor skills), I was ecstatic to read about the ‘concussion bin’ being tried out this coming season. The hits are getting harder and the players have not been taken care of enough to justify the damage.

When I had my last concussion (I am sitting on 7 concussions so far, hopefully no more), the doc explained it to me by saying imagine a pint glass near full of water, put an egg in the glass. The water absorbs a lot of the impact when you shake the glass lightly, when you shake it harder the water can’t do its job and the egg hits the glass. This is a simple explanation of what a concussion is.

We have all seen a concussion whether it be live in the stadium or on TV. The worst one I saw live was when Jimmy Heaslip ran down ROG like a train in the night………….like a train in the night!! Watching the reply of that and seeing his head bounce off the hallowed rds turf was equal parts worrying and enjoyable to watch. In fairness to O’Gara, he got up and stayed on the pitch. The Munster medical team tried to drag him off the pitch but he wouldn’t budge. That and many other hits like it must have a horrible affect on the brain (a Munster brain at that, it has half the power of a Leinster brain. We all know this as fact ;)). At every level of the game the head takes far too much abuse. We have spoken about how player safety should be higher on the list of important things, and I think that this is a huge step in the right direction.

Concussion is a problem in sport and needs to be addressed. Moving away from legitimate sport for a second, in professional wrestling it is a huge problem. If you read about Chris Benoit and his murdering of his family followed by taking his own life in 2007. I bring this up because a sample of his brain was taken for further study post autopsy, and they found that he had the brain of a 70 year old man. This was caused primarily (but not entirely) by concussions and not letting the brain heal. Wrestlers and rugby players are very similar (let me finish….). They are both very stubborn and play through more pain barriers than most people can handle. In doing so they are killing themselves, or at least their brain cells.

I think this concussion bin is a huge step forward. Although calling it a bin is a bit strange isn’t it? I put rubbish in the bin, things I don’t need or things I am hiding from the wife. I don’t put rugby players in it. Although on a night out I do think I threw a member of the team in a bin, another story for another over 18s blog.

I thought I would finish this week with a ‘things I have learnt this week’ note……this week I learnt that mid week madness in town is NOT a good idea. Russian beer is a great idea on the weekends, but a horrible idea for a Wednesday night. As the CCTV footage will attest…

HarpinOnRugby

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