Ty Wilson Law February 2018

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HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS AND CONCUSSIONS CTE Awareness and Reactive Legislation


Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive, degenerative disease caused by repetitive head trauma. Studies show that CTE leads to dementia, memory loss, suicidal thoughts, and personality and mood changes. Bennet Omalu, a forensic neuropathologist and the chief medical examiner for San Joaquin County in California, first identified CTE in 2002 during an autopsy of former Pittsburgh Steelers center Mike Webster. Before then, CTE had only been seen in boxers. When the film“Concussion” opened in 2015, more people were exposed to the story of the discovery of CTE in football players and to the dangers associated with the disease. According to the Mayo Clinic, some possible signs of CTE include difficulty thinking, impulsive behavior, depression, emotional instability, substance abuse, irritability, aggression, and motor impairment. While CTE has been recognized by the NFL as a risk of playing professional football, until recently, few high school players, parents, and coaches gave CTE and concussion protocol a second thought. In July of 2017, a study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association presented a startling statistic: CTE was discovered in 3 out of 14 high school players and 48 out of 53 college players whose brains had been donated to the Boston University School of Medicine. Additionally, CTE was found in 110 out of 111 former NFL players. The study also showed high rates of CTE among semiprofessional and Canadian Football League players. Although the findings are incredibly alarming, there was one flaw in the study. All of the athletes’ brains were donated to the brain bank set up by the VA Boston Health Care System, Boston University School of Medicine, and the Concussion Legacy Foundation. The bank only accepted brains from individuals who were exposed to repetitive head trauma. Since they were donated under these conditions, the brains were not a random sample and cannot be used to represent the brains of all football players. Although medical professionals cannot make general assumptions based on this study alone, it still provides one concrete conclusion: Players who were exposed to repetitive head trauma showed high rates of CTE.

Snow in Georgia?

I have to say my children were so happy to see and play in snow this January. It is remarkable that we were able to see it in my own backyard. You see, my children both wanted me to drive up north to show them snow. So, I am happy to say that I can cross that off of my list of things to do for 2018. Have you noticed the days are getting longer? As the year rolls on, I welcome the warming weather and longer days. month of the year. The weather is becoming beautiful and for the first time in a very long time. I know what I’m getting my wife for Valentine’s Day. We are going to keep this short this month in honor of the shortest month. We just started 2018 and already we are cruising into the second and shortest

Stay safe.

-Ty Wilson

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