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“Big Hit, Broken Dream”—Brain Injury Documentary Highlights Seriousness of Concussions

The Daily Breeze reported earlier this week on a new documentary on the dangers of traumatic brain injuries-particularly concussions-that is hoping to coincide with the fervor of Super Bowl season. Each Chicago brain injury lawyer at our firm has become familiar with the dangers of sports-related brain injuries, most notably those affecting young athletes in sports like football, hockey, and soccer. There has been much attention devoted to these issues over the past couple years. However it remains unclear if that attention has trickled down to those who are most in a position to prevent the injuries from occurring or ensuring that they are properly treated.

That is where the documentary comes in. The creators are hoping to use the film to truly hammer home the seriousness of the issue to parents, coaches, school administrators, trainers, and the young athletes themselves. The documentary push is being spearheaded by CNN‘s chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Entitled “Big Hit, Broken Dreams,” the film is scheduled to air for the first time this Sunday. There will be three different showings-5pm, 8pm, and 11pm-so hopefully many will get the chance to watch the material and arm themselves with vital safety information about this very real concern. The documentary apparently focuses most on football, where the issue of traumatic brain injury and concussions are most apt-but its lessons can be applied to any sport where physical contact occurs.

One problem, says Gupta, is that the issue is receiving attention generally but the seriousness of it is not taking root. In other words, more people than in the past realize that concussions are a problem. However, fewer truly understand that concussions are not some trivial knock on the head that can be brushed off. Dr. Gupta noted, “I personally think the term ‘concussion’ itself almost needs to be changed because while it’s an accurate term, it sort of minimizes the symptoms that result.” Our Chicago injury lawyers wholeheartedly agree.

Instead, all those involved need to understand that a concussion is a brain injury caused by trauma to the head. It isn’t “like” a brain injury or in some special category of less serious accident-it has the potential to lead to just as much long-term damage as other head trauma cases. That is why it continues to be a pressing concern for those in the athletic world to understand how to identify the injury immediately. The worst harm always comes when a concussion is missed, meaning that the brain does not have time to heal before more trauma is inflicted.

The most common concussion symptoms include confusion, headaches, ringing the ears, and blurred vision. Unlike what some may mistakenly believe, one need not lose consciousness to have a concussion. The damage can occur anytime that one’s head experiences significant trauma. According to Dr. Gupta, he was spurred to take a harder line on concussions when he heard about the case of 16-year old high school football star Jaquan Waller. Waller died a few years ago from what is known as “second-impact syndrome.” This occurs when the brain swells suddenly following a second concussion which is experienced before the first concussion has a chance to heal.

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