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  • Prevention of concussions


    Prevention of mild traumatic brain injury involves taking general measures to prevent traumatic brain injury, such as wearing seat belts and using airbags in cars. Older people are encouraged to try to prevent falls, for example by keeping floors free of clutter and wearing thin, flat, shoes with hard soles that do not interfere with balance. Unfortunately, to date, there is no data to support the claim that any particular type of helmet or protective equipment reduces the risk of sports-related concussion. Improvements in the design of protective athletic gear such as helmets may decrease the number and severity of such injuries. New "Head Impact Telemetry System" technology is being placed in helmets to study injury mechanisms and potentially help reduce the risk of concussions among American Football players. Changes to the rules or the practices of enforcing existing rules in sports, such as those against "head-down tackling", or "spearing", which is associated with a high injury rate, may also prevent concussions.

  • Head injury criterion


    The Head Injury Criterion (HIC) is a measure of the likelihood of head injury arising from an impact. The HIC can be used to assess safety related to vehicles, personal protective gear, and sport equipment. Normally the variable is derived from the measurements of an accelerometer mounted at the center of mass of a crash test dummy’s head, when the dummy is exposed to crash forces. It is defined as: where t1 and t2 are the initial and final times (in seconds) chosen to maximize HIC, and acceleration a is measured in gs (standard gravity acceleration). The time duration, t2 – t1, is limited to a maximum value of 36 ms, usually 15 ms. This means that the HIC includes the effects of head acceleration and the duration of the acceleration. Large accelerations may be tolerated for very short times. At a HIC of 1000, there is an 18% probability of a severe head injury, a 55% probability of a serious injury and a 90% probability of a moderate head injury to the average adult.

  • Concussion grading systems


    Concussion grading systems are sets of criteria used in sports medicine to determine the severity, or grade, of a concussion, the mildest form of traumatic brain injury. At least 16 such systems exist, and there is little agreement among professionals about which is the best to use. Several of the systems use loss of consciousness and amnesia as the primary determinants of the severity of the concussion. The systems are widely used to determine when it is safe to allow an athlete to return to competition. Concern exists that multiple concussions received in a short time may present an added danger, since an initial concussion may leave the brain in a vulnerable state for a time. Injured athletes are prohibited from returning to play before they are symptom-free during rest and exertion and their neuropsychological tests are normal again, in order to avoid a risk of cumulative effects such as decline in mental function and second-impact syndrome, which may occur on very rare occasions after a concussion that occurs before the symptoms from another concussion have resolved.

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