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New medical tests reveal brain damage to risk for athletes

Medical researchers at Stanford University have discovered that even mild head injuries can be very serious for athletes in Colorado and across the nation. According to their study, the brain may become injured by smaller bumps in a different way than what was previously thought.

The mechanics of brain trauma and injury were studied using MRI and multiple patients. The researchers' reports include those who have experienced a number of smaller bumps in addition to the usual study subjects with injuries caused by harder hits or sudden blows to the head. The studies were designed to reveal the impact of repeated small taps and how the brain responds. The study suggests that a football player who is bumped several times throughout the course of a game may obtain a brain injury similar to that of someone who suffered a hard tackle.

Researchers say that the brain is contained in the skull but has room to move. As the brain moves around slowly, at a 5-hertz pace, it remains intact and unharmed. However, when the brain is bumped repeatedly or gets a sudden jolt, it bangs against the walls of the skull. This is where the injury occurs. Moving the brain at 15 hertz is enough to cause such damage. Contact sports, such as tackle football, can result in brain hits of 20 hertz or more. The smaller, more frequent bumps can injure one's brain whether or not a helmet is worn for protection. The injury comes from inside the brain cavity rather than from the outside.

A brain injury, no matter how insignificant it seems, might be dangerous. A person who has suffered significant brain damage due to another party's negligence may be able to receive compensation through a personal injury lawsuit.

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