Who is responsible?
Part 2 of my interview with Yelverton Tegnér.
The sport related concussions are increasing. But who is responsible? The trainers? The Athletes? Doctors? Parents?
Yelverton told me a fearsome story:
"I have always been aware of how serious the sport related concussions really are, but this haven´t always been positively met. Many years after it has happend I´ve been told by athletes that they, after they had sustained a concussion, been told by their trainer not to tell the doctor (me) what had happened. They had been told to shut their mouth and keep quiet or else they wouldn´t be allowed to keep playing due to their brain injury."
WHAT HAPPENS ON THE INSIDE OF THE SKULL?
Not many people actually know what goes on in inside the skull when a concussion accure. Yelverton explained that aswell:
"It all depends on how much force that finds its way into the skull. Some hits aren´t hard enough to injure the brain. But what happens during a concussion is that nerv cells in the brain breaks. When they break they secretes a poisonous substans that kills nearby nerv cells."
"The scary part is that you are not good to go after a concussion even when you don´t have any symptoms anymore. When you lose brain activity in one part of the brain due to a concussion other parts of your brain takes responsibilty for the lost parts. In this way it can appear as if the person is good to go and that there are no further damage to the brain. But in reality the brain injury is still there, you just can´t see it."
IS MORE BETTER?
Before this interview I had written many emails to Dr Tegnér regarding the increasing concussion statistics at the same time as most players in most sports are wearing more and more protection gear. Yelverton are seeing a clear pattern between the increasing number of brain injuries and players wearing more protection gear:
"When you are putting on as much gear as a knight you start doing things that you otherwise would never do. If there is no risk of feeling any pain, players will try to use their bodies in situations that would seriously hurt them if they were not wearing their gear. Earlier in ice-hockey we saw a lot of injuries on elbows and shoulders. But when the new elbow and shoulder protection came, those kinds of injuries almost disappeard, but the players started using their shoulders and elbows for other purposes and that could possibly be one of the factors that have increased the number of concussions in sport.
WHEN ARE YOU FULLY RECOVERED AFTER A CONCUSSION?
"Well...now you have to ask yourself what fully recovered means. I say that a single concussion is probably not very dangerous. But the danger is in the repeated hits to the head, that is what kills the brain. I was the doctor for the famous ice-hockey player Cam Abbott that after he had sustained a concussion was taken out of play for 450 days and he had been free from symptoms for months before he started playing again but I had all this time told him that I wanted him to completely stop playing. After playing two more seasons Cam Abbott sustained a new concussion and his sport career was over. Sadly enough doctors can´t forbid players to keep playing or training. As far as I know it is only possible, as a doctor, to prevent athletes from keep going in sports like boxing, MMA and such.
Dr. Yelverton finished our interview with a very sad message
"I am very worried about the future of some sports due to the increasing number of concussions in many of them. Do we really want our sons and daughters to keep playing a sport that eventually will result in a broken brain? If some sports don´t make some serious rule changes I have a hard time to imagine that the sport eventually will survive."
Big thank you Dr. Yelverton Tegnér for this interview!