Watch: Bengals mourn the death of receiver Chris Henry. “Nate, give me a ventricular catheter,” I said. Brain injury is cumulative." She suspects that Michael may have had something in his genetics that predisposed him to a worse outcome from concussions. “Pressure’s really low, Doc,” a nurse said. Keck had played tackle football since he was age 6 and had sustained more than 10 concussions by the time he was a junior in college. In today’s article, we’re answering the most frequently asked questions about sports and traumatic brain injuries. Though his vision would return eventually, it was frightening and Keck told his coaches he couldn’t come back. Just as I was starting the incision, Tim backed into the room, his arms dripping the yellow iodine soap we scrubbed with before surgery. Español. Then he cleared his throat and said, “Then you send him home. … There still isn’t enough evidence to suggest that youngsters need to give up tackle football, experts told NBC News. But if I failed, Statzer would die. I pushed the catheter a centimeter deeper. Vascular surgeon Todd explored Statzer’s neck to gain control of the jugular vein. But most often, brain injuries are due to a violent blow or jolt to the head. Tim placed Statzer’s skull fragments into his abdomen, and Joe from ENT performed a tracheostomy while Todd finished repairing the torn veins and arteries in Statzer’s neck. We put Statzer on the surgical table in the OR. Following Michael's wishes, his wife, Cassandra, asked doctors to send his brain off to BU. Statzer, my name is Dr. Lee Warren and I’m a neurosurgeon at the 332nd Air Force Theater Hospital in Balad, Iraq. See more ideas about inspirational words, words, brain injury. Whether Keck was playing youth, or high school or college football, the message was “if you’re hurt, you just get out there and play — don’t be a wuss,” Cassandra said. “He told me that when he was 8 he would be sitting on the bench holding his head and the coach would be rubbing it because it hurt so bad,” Cassandra said. We had become robotic and lifeless, waiting for the next wave of inevitable horror. Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a disruption in the normal function of the brain that can be caused by a blow, bump or jolt to the head, the head suddenly and violently hitting an object or when an object pierces the skull and enters brain tissue. 4. Near the end of his life he told his wife, Cassandra, he wanted to donate his brain to Boston University so pathologists could look for CTE. But we have to be cautious about changes that affect everybody.”. “I saw the scan,” he said. Your son Paul has been critically injured in battle, but he’s alive.” I went on to tell him that Paul’s injuries were very severe, and that, although he had come through his surgery and was stable, I was unsure if he would survive the trip back to America. "If you’re going to play [tackle] football, put it off until the body matures completely, until the body size has caught up with head size, until the muscles are coordinated," McKee said. BrainLine is powered in part by agenerous grant from: BrainLine is a national service of WETA-TV, the flagship PBS station in Washington, D.C. BrainLine, WETA Public Television He became so sensitive to light that he placed heavy blankets over the windows. Traumatic brain injuries are more common in young patients, and men account for the majority (75%) of cases 4. “So he had 16 years of football behind him. Military personnel in combat zones are also at risk. “Having to be somewhere on time was very stressful,” Cassandra said. “Can’t understand why he’s still alive.”. “You said he’s alive, right, Doctor?”, I heard Mr. Statzer repeating what I’d said to his wife. “Certainly we have known that CTE changes in the brain can be found in younger players," said Dr. Julian Bailes, medical director of Pop Warner football, who is unaffiliated with the new study. He couldn’t read, so he couldn’t study. "The Worst Head Injury I Ever Saw" is excerpted from Dr. W. Lee Warren's, No Place to Hide: A Brain Surgeon's Long Journey Home from the Iraq War. If he could avoid infection, I thought, he just might survive. More-serious traumatic brain injury can result in bruising, torn tissues, bleeding and other physical damage to the brain. Robert P. Lehr Jr., Ph.D. Statzer’s brain relaxed and settled back into his skull. We need blood immediately. A concussion is caused when the brain receives trauma from an impact or a sudden momentum or movement change. If I could place a catheter into the ventricle of Statzer’s brain, the release of spinal fluid would stop the brain from swelling out. Little by little, as we stopped the bleeding and replaced his blood with new units donated by hospital personnel, Statzer’s pressure and vital signs began to improve. Keck died from a congenital heart defect at the age of 25 in 2013. I thought, There have been a few miracles already. Warren’s story is an example of how a person can go from a place of total loss to one of strength, courage, and victory. I removed the rest of his frontal lobe, finding a walnutsized metal fragment and Statzer’s left eyeball buried in the white matter. 1. A TBI can be mild or severe. The 47-Day Raft Ride from Hell. In general, recovery may be slower among older adults, young children, and teens. A brain injury study conducted at the Boston University School of Medicine showed that 33 of 34 players tested post-mortem showed clear signs of CTE, and additional … Primary injuries include the injuries that are sustained at the time of the traumatic event, such as: He was having trouble concentrating and he’d become uncharacteristically emotional and short-fused. Go a little farther,” Tim said. He felt like he was failing. The frontal lobe is the largest section of the brain and is responsible for the unique abilities that make us human. “However, high school players hit at high velocity (high g-forces) and at about 600-800/year, and college approximately 1000/year. The man she met and married had been smart, kind and industrious. Cassandra Keck took some comfort in hearing the diagnosis. Get targeted resources quickly! Brain Injuries: Mild vs. His name tag said “Statzer.” He was an Army staff sergeant. A traumatic brain injury (TBI), also known as an intracranial injury, is an injury to the brain caused by an external force. I felt the pop, and spinal fluid gushed above my head, under so much pressure that it hit the ceiling and dripped back down onto my neck. An object that penetrates brain tissue, such as a bullet or shattered piece of skull, also can cause traumatic brain injury.Mild traumatic brain injury may affect your brain cells temporarily. The anesthesiologist started an IV and began squeezing saline into Statzer’s vein. 'Concussion' Shines Light on Brain Injuries and Football. Normally, we first had to contact the team to let them know we had a patient, and then it would take a day or two before they were able to move that patient. But because of the brain shift, Statzer’s ventricles were a lot farther away, and when the catheter reached seven centimeters, there was no fluid coming out yet. Doctors refer to … “Let’s get him to CT,” I said, “and somebody go get vascular surgery and ENT. After a few rings, I heard a man’s voice. “Here we go,” I said. Severe. Whatever it was, I had to do it right now, or he would be dead in minutes. What Does a Baseline Concussion Exam Test For? Now that he was stabilized, we could start trying to put him back together again. In the brain injury world, there are taboo subjects that family caregivers can't wait to talk about among ourselves. Because of the damage of electrical flow between cells, the affected individual often appears comatose with no evidence of bleeding within the brain. Diffuse Axonal Injury. A diffuse axonal injury (DAI) is similar to a concussion in that it results from … Traumatic Brain Injury. Most people with a TBI recover well from symptoms experienced at the time of the injury. “I’d have to put his shoes and socks and hat by the door so he knew where everything was. The dark side of personality change is at the top of the list. While most parts of your brain can be affected by an accident, the frontal lobe is the most vulnerable area. As I expected, his left frontal lobe was mostly gone, but the brain he had left began to swell dramatically with his rising blood pressure. Researchers there discovered that Keck not only had CTE, but also that it was as severe as what had been found in the brain of 43-year-old Seau. TBI can be classified based on severity (ranging from mild traumatic brain injury [mTBI/concussion] to severe traumatic brain injury), mechanism (closed or penetrating head injury), or other features (e.g., occurring in a specific location or over a widespread area). I doubted that he would ever use his right arm and leg again, even if he survived and woke up someday. I’m going to need his help.”, Statzer’s scan showed that there were several large pieces of shrapnel deep in his brain, along with a lot of blood, air, and fragments of bone. Getting Stuck Under Water... For an Hour. In the surgeons’ lounge, I prepared to call Statzer’s family. That all changed after he transferred to Missouri State University and sustained his second college concussion playing linebacker. “Knife,” I said to Nate. “He started playing when he was quite young,” McKee said. Bailes, clinical professor of neurosurgery at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine and the chairman of the department of neurosurgery at the NorthShore University HealthSystem reported on the 2009 death of Chris Henry, the only active NFL player to die and have CTE at age 26, with forensic pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu. Linda Carroll is a regular health contributor to NBC News and Reuters Health. While the majority of these people will experience no lasting effects, many others will be left with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) that can have devastating and lifelong effects. His skull was shattered so badly that I barely had to use the drill. The blood vessels in the brain may stretch and cranial nerves may be damaged. By the time Keck was 25, he had lost the ability to work and had become completely dependent on his wife. Every year, millions of people in the U.S. suffer brain injuries. A potentially devastating brain injury occurs when the brain injury occurs to the axons, the part of the neurons or brain cell that allows those cells to send messages to each other. "It was the worst CTE I’ve seen in an individual this young" said study coauthor Dr. Ann McKee. To my great surprise, in the ICU a critical-care transport team was preparing Statzer for his flight to Germany. She is coauthor of "The Concussion Crisis: Anatomy of a Silent Epidemic" and "Out of the Clouds: The Unlikely Horseman and the Unwanted Colt Who Conquered the Sport of Kings.". Find What You Need These injuries can result in long-term complications or death. In addition, traumatic brain injury can result from bullet wounds or other injuries that penetrate the skull and brain.Doctors classify traumatic brain injury a… We help elementary kids learn about head safety with our program called HeadSmart. Keck suspected he might have the same problem as NFL star Junior Seau, the former linebacker for the San Diego Chargers, who fatally shot himself in the chest at age 43 because he had a degenerative brain disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.