Pro-bowler suicide raises questions of early concussion detection

May 7, 2012 by Keith Davis

Before beginning his 20-year career playing football in the NFL, Junior Seau starred at the University of Southern California and in high school. According to Chris Hummel, a certified athletic trainer and clinical associate professor at Ithaca College, “We don’t know yet if Seau’s suicide is directly linked to a history of concussions, but we have seen a few recent cases that makes us suspicious of such a link. What we do know is that concussions can have long term consequences, such as depression.”

The possibility of Seau’s recent being linked to concussions received playing football brings home the importance of recognizing and managing concussions properly at an early age. “Once an athlete has experienced one concussion, the threshold for sustaining another concussion can be diminished,” Hummel said. “Also, if a player sustains another blow before he or she is fully recovered, the resultant symptoms can be worsened and result in a prolonged recovery.”

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In order to alert parents and coaches of youth athletes about the myths and facts of concussions, Hummel has developed an interactive quiz that tests general knowledge. 

Explore further: Ban bodychecking in youth hockey to prevent concussions

More information: More detailed information on concussions facts and myths is available at: www.ithaca.edu/news/releases/hard_facts_about_hard_hits-23030/

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