Boys, Brains, and Football

25 Sep

A story on ran today that furthers a VERY important discussion about the impact of high contact sports on the brain. Parents of kids who play sports like football should take a look at Concussion Worries Renew Focus on Football Safety. The connection between the brain, the heart, and the emotions is critical for positive behavior guidance and transforming challenging behavior for intense children (and adults, for that matter). It’s keystone of our approach at Fiddlehouse. Here are some highlights taken from the NPR story:

  • A college player who recently committed suicide had a degenerative brain disease normally linked to much older players: CTE, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. It’s prompting a new round of questions.
  • “Thousands of subconcussive blows can probably be just as deleterious as a blow at the concussion level,” Cantu said. Translation: The mere act of playing football with its many, seemingly innocuous collisions, could be silently wreaking havoc on the brain.”
  • “We have pitch counts for pitchers from Little League to the majors, who want to limit the number of pitches they throw and protect their arms,” he said. “We’re probably going to have to go to hit counts to the head in our football players to protect the brain.”
  • Virginia Tech’s football helmets are outfitted with six sensors (the brown objects) that record data. There is also a small antenna that transmits information from the sensors to the sideline controller unit. The sensors are small accelerometers — similar to devices that trigger an automobile air bag.
  • Brolinson monitors the screen, which depicts a computer-generated head, and colored arrows on different parts of the head that show the location and magnitude of a head hit.
  • “I’m looking at a head blow right now on one of our players,” he said, demonstrating the system. “And I can see that he’s had a blow that’s on the left, lateral side of the head. The length of the arrow [on the head] corresponds to a blow that is about a 58 G head acceleration.”
  • He says the Thomas [the play who committed suicide] story shouldn’t cause a knee-jerk reaction among those worried that CTE [chronic traumatic encephalopathy] signals a widespread problem in football. CTE research is evolving as well, Brolinson says. Not every football player with a lot of head hits gets the disease. Brolinson and others think CTE may have a genetic component to it.
  • Halstead does laboratory testing on football helmets; he consults with the NFL and the NFL Players Union on helmet performance. Safer headgear isn’t the issue for him. The best defense against brain injury, he says, is teaching the game the right way. To make sure all coaches do that and take it seriously, Halstead suggests a rule against any intentional headfirst contact.

Click on the link at the beginning of this post to read the whole story. For more information about the heart-brain connection, positive parenting, and behavior guidance, get in touch with me: or 651-274-0031.

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Posted by on September 25, 2010 in Present Moment Parenting


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