Concussions, CTE & Controversy: Making Sense of ‘League of Denial’
Football is under fire. A new book and accompanying PBS Frontline investigation, both called League of Denial, questions the National Football League’s handling of allegations that playing football leads to irreparable brain damage.
A key issue: Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) and sports-causing concussions. CTE is a dementia-like illness often seen in athletes and other people who suffer from repeated blows to the head. The illness is onset by a long term result of repeated concussions, although a concussion is an injury to the brain that results in some temporary impairment.
In this just posted interview, Dr. Zachary Litvack, neurosurgeon, Director of Neurotrama and Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery and Otolaryngology at The George Washington Medical Faculty Associates (GW-MFA) shares his insights with On The Marc Media’s Marc Silverstein.
Diagnosis of CTE, let alone early diagnosis, isn’t easy, according to Dr. Litvack. Oftentimes, the condition is diagnosed posthumously during an autopsy on the brain. Even when symptoms (forgetfulness, impulsiveness, changes in personality, signs of depression and suicide, and anger) surface, the damage to the brain has already been done.
Since studies seeking ways to detect CTE is in its preliminary stages, Dr. Litvack’s suggestion: Prevention. Full protective gear should be worn at all times, practices included. If an athlete sustains a concussion, allow time for the brain to fully recovery.
Watch the interview with GW-MFA’s Dr. Litvack below.