Friday, March 1, 2013

Staying on Point….

In the past year I've talked about exercising and taking ownership of our own lives to live a better quality of life by being healthy. While I will always feel strongly about health and wellness I can never forget that my expertise and my relationship with Meridian Neuroscience is based largely on my experiences with sports related concussions.

For many years now I've been very open and willing to talk about the issue of sports concussions. I was diagnosed with Post Concussion Syndrome in 1990, two years after my career ended as a linebacker with the New York Football Giants.  During my 13 years playing with the Giants I realized something was going on that I couldn't quite put my finger on but I just knew something was happening with my body internally. It wasn't until I left football that I was finally diagnosed. Over the years I have learned to manage my life to live a relatively "normal" life to avoid things like headaches by recognizing "trigger" that could be a prelude to a migraine. Since my diagnosis I've sat on panels with some of the foremost authorities on concussions and traumatic brain injuries. I've read extensively on concussions or brain injury related issues but more importantly I've listened to my own body and paid very close attention to what my body has gone through as a result of giving and receiving concussions on the football field.

What is now a "hot button" topic for everyone including the President of the United States is a subject I talked about when it wasn't politically correct for a former NFL Player to talk so openly about 20 years ago. I recognized when I was diagnosed that if I was having neurological issues having played football and sustaining concussions there were probably many other current and former football players dealing with the same issues. I was right on that point as more than 5000 former players have so far joined a class action suit against the NFL in regard to concussion.

As the issues of concussions and traumatic brain injuries have evolved, not only are football players on all levels affected but the issues are also felt in girl’s soccer, wresting, lacrosse, ice hockey and even NASCAR racing. What most people fail to realize is traumatic brain injury is the number one injury that many of our soldiers coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan are dealing with.

With the suicides of several athletes affected by head trauma, a greater awareness has been placed on concussions in sports. And even with much research that has been done on deceased athletes with confirmations of brain damage there are still doubters of the causes of concussions having residual long term effects on athletes after the cheering stops.

My mission as one who intimately understands brain injuries in sports is real and the long term effects are very very real I look forward to sharing my experiences with all who are interested in Ocean and Monmouth Counties later this year as Meridian Neuroscience and I team up to bring a greater awareness of concussions to those communities. As we move forward in 2013 I will continue to write on good health and wellness but my main goal is to stay on point on the issue I feel continuously needs to be discussed with athletes and parents of children who want to play contact sports.

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