In the beginning I had a simple question. How dangerous are concussions? Although it may sound like a common question with an easy answer, my motivation for using it says otherwise. I chose this after recalling a lacrosse tournament where a teammate of mine said he had suffered eight concussions, and that they were “no big deal.” This prompted me to find the real dangers of concussions, the technical stuff that you don’t hear every day, and to share it with a younger audience through the youth voices community. At first I decided simply to google the definition of a concussion in order to build up a little bit of base knowledge that I found necessary to understanding some more complex sources. After this I decided to google my original question. This lead me to something interesting. I found links to a degenerative brain disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Upon this finding I decide to focus my research on diseases that had ties to concussive and subconcussive hits to the head. After this I decide to see if concussions had a link to parkinson’s disease, as it can be induced by head trauma. Low and behold, head trauma and concussions lead to a higher chance of parkinson’s developing. The whole train of thought between parkinson’s and concussions came from something I heard in anatomy class. One of the causes for Parkinson’s is a degenerative build up of proteins in the brain called lewy bodies, that kill neurons in the substantia nigra. I related this to CTE after reading that CTE is caused by a buildup of the tau protein causing degeneration and death of neurons in the brain. I am still currently doing research make sure that there is a connection between these disease and concussions and so far it looks like there is. Next I looked to find lesser problems that concussions could cause, such as their effect on learning, social interactions, problem solving skills, and the like. I found information for all of these ranging from high school ages to those of adulthood (mostly professional athletes). I decide to focus more on high schools because that is theaudience that I am trying to bring this information too, although I do plan on addressing college and pro athletes. I hope to delve deeper into my topic and bring more ideas to the attention of those who don’t see the devastating affects of concussions.
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