Video 1: Hits That Can Change the Brain

Video 2: Fixing Football Practice

Video 3: The Safety Threshold

Video 4: Calling All Coaches

Video 5: The Danger We Don’t Notice

Video 1: Hits That Can Change the Brain

Video 2: Fixing Football Practice

Video 3: The Safety Threshold

Video 4: Calling All Coaches

Video 5: The Danger We Don’t Notice

Dr. Sanjay Gupta On The Head Hits That Go Unnoticed

This week Dr. Sanjay Gupta has been on CNN a lot talking about his documentary this Sunday: Big Hits, Broken Dreams. It’s about the dangers of concussions, especially for high school football players. He brought up a term I’d never heard before. Sub-concussive hits.

A sub-concussive hit is when you get hit in the head and don’t get a concussion. Nobody really notices. It may not even hurt very much. One may not hurt you. A few may not hurt you. But Dr. Gupta, who, in addition to being CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent is a practicing neurosurgeon, has been looking into the latest research on these hits that few have paid attention to. And he has found mounting evidence that when these hits add up, which they do quickly in high school football, our teenage players’ brains are at risk.

How many sub-concussive hits does it take to damage a young brain? Can these young people recover from the damage? Are there practical measures that can be taken to protect young football players without jeopardizing game of football? The answer to the last question is yes. Which is why it’s worth the time of every coach and parent and anyone connected to youth football to watch the brief questions and answers with Dr. Gupta below.

The videos are not edited. They were captured during a brief conversation I had with my colleague, Dr. Gupta, as he was leaving one CNN studio for another. And they touch on what he and CNN will explore in greater depth Sunday night in the documentary “Big Hits, Broken Dreams.”

Michael Schulder
Senior Executive Producer

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5 Responses to Dr. Sanjay Gupta On The Head Hits That Go Unnoticed

  1. Angela Jones says:

    Dear Dr. Gupta, I've just seen you on CNN speaking about concussions and holding up a football helment and explaining how football players use to stand and now stand. Please inform the public that football is NOT the only sport that causes concussions. My beautiful, highly intelligent 14 year old freshman grand daughter plays junior varsity field hockey and in a local field hockey league. On Saturday she was playing in a sanction event in Pennsylvania and was hit in the mouth with the ball. Cut up and bleeding there was NO medical assistance for her on site. Her mother had to find a local medi-center on her own and a local emergency dental clinic. This week she visited her own dentist and after complaining about a severe headache her doctor told my daughter she has a concesion!!! Doctor said no sports, reading, tv, music, etc. Her brain must be rested. Please inform the public that GIRLS suffer from concessions and that private and school santioned events MUST provide for medical care on site. It should not be only about making money when these private sites rent out for events.

    Thank you so very much for reading my e-mail. Angela Jones

  2. Robin Hurwitz says:

    I am a parent of a female soccer player on the high school soccer team. After 3 soccer concussions, at age 15 she will not be able to play soccer again. Because these are bad concussions, she cannot participate in school PE. She gets no credit for soccer (because she didn't finish the season due to concussions) or PE (she can't run with a concussion), and is in danger of not graduating from high school due to concussions sustained while on a school team. There are SEVEN girls on the school soccer teams out with concussions this week. The coaches can't even field a complete team. This is a long term brain injury with impact in and out of the classroom which the schools refuse to address.

  3. Meghan M says:

    I am an athlete who competes in all levels up until my senior year of college, that was a day that had an impact on my life. In my final game in my college career I sustained a horrible concussion, was undercut in the air landing on my forehead. The unfortunate part for me I didn't black out or become unconscious ( wish I did after the fact). I was seeing double but just thought my bell was rung, like most athletes I played the next 20 minutes(which in college is an entire half).

    It wasn't until after when I didn't think we had played(teammate told me weeks later what I said). As well the nausea and dizzy feeling sending my team trainer a text that my head was banging and buzzing in my ears. I was lucky to have great athletic medicine staff because the next morning(after not sleeping because I was told to wake up every hour).

    After almost 10 weeks of missing class, team functions, my graduating athletic banquet, I was cleared by medical staff, but it didn't mean anything. By this point I was now not eligible for graduation having to repeat my semester.

    I missed many things because of a concussion, and now almost 3 years later, when doing certain things, moving certain ways I still have lasting side effects.

    This is an injury that is not to be taken lightly, and more steps need to be taken for people to make sure they are healed. Women being physically smaller and weaker then men especially are at a higher risk.

    Glad someone is taking the time to investigate and bring it to public attention.

  4. Tara McCann says:

    As a parent, I AM interested in learning about this situation and "sub-concussive hits" is a new phrase for me. Most parents I know (me included) breathe a sigh of relief when the game is over and there are no "injuries"… but this tells us that those injuries may be silent, which is very scary. The videos were especially compelling to me since I JUST had a conversation with my 7 year old son LAST WEEK as to why he would NOT be going out for the Pee Wee Football team next year. As an avid sports fan, I am very aware of sports-related injuries. I was a HUGE Flyers fan during the helmet debate (I actually babysat their kids for tickets in lieu of money… and saw up-close the beatings they received during play)… knew football players who were injured… and could never figure out why school/high school coaches didn't realize that if the professionals can get hurt… so can the kids.

  5. Tara McCann says:

    However, I must agree with Angela Jones' blog post… this problem is broader than football and that needs to be eventually addressed. Football gets much of the press — it certainly is one of the more dangerous contact sports — but parents need to be made aware of this problem across the board. What are the mandates that 45 states and DC have implemented for football (Video 4)? And how can they be applied to other sports? It's easy for me to tell my son "No way are you going out for football!"… but without too much being said about basketball, wrestling, baseball, etc. (all other sports where sub-concussive hits" are likely) it's hard to make an informed choice about alternatives. I, for one, would like to know more…

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