Brain Matters

Written by: Lianne Castelino

Published: May 4, 2011

by Lianne Castelino

Everyday there seems to be a compelling new story, disturbing new statistics, a new face in the growing list of those affected, and a new name added to the fight to reduce concussions.

It's a wonderful thing.  

The Canadian Football League (CFL) has announced it will launch an education program with the goal of making football safer.  As well, the CFL will be part of a unique study with the goal of determining the impact of concussions on the brains of professional football players in Canada.

Bravo.  Especially the education part. 

As I've stated in previous blogs on this issue, the only real way to make a meaningful imprint on this virtual epidemic, the only way to reduce the number of brain and head-related trauma is by education everyone involved in sports – both amateur and professional.  That includes parents, kids, officials, players, coaches.  No one is exempt, nor should they be.  A volunteer coach who happens to be a parent needs to be educated.  A referee who dawns their stripes a few times a week needs to know.  A kid who is enrolled in a sport for fun and exercise must be taught.  A parent whose kids gets their 'bell rung' needs to take the intelligent road, not wallow in denial, about when and if their kid should next play because of a potential head injury.  There are no exceptions.

If the leadership doesn't trickle down on this issue eg. the NHL's slow movement clamping down on hits to the head through meaningful punishment, then a grassroots movement targetting the young and working its way up can make a difference.

It's pretty straight forward in my opinion.  Hits to the head usually hurt.  Many hits to the head have the cumulative effect of potentially causing serious brain damage.  Just because we can't see it, doesn't mean it is not there.

Prominent neurologist Dr. Charles Tator, founder of ThinkFirst Canada is leading the research study.  It's seeking donated brains from athletes to create a 'brain bank'.  A novel concept and a sign of true leadership that will hopefully spare a future generation of athletes, parents and kids — serious and potentially life-threatening headaches.

Related content:

Dr. Charles Tator interview  Dr. Charles Tator


Blog:  Can the Human Brain be off limits?

Toronto Non Contact Hockey League

Bill Robertson, Toronto Non-Contact Hockey League, interview

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