With all of the concussion news published in the past month, PennLive.com talked to a researcher who has a different take on head injuries.
Robert Harbaugh, director of Penn State’s Institute of Neurosciences, is a former football player who believes the rise in the number of concussions is because of a better understanding of concussions.
Harbaugh said he doesn’t think athletes are suffering more concussions, but rather that the definition of concussion has changed, from a brain injury involving a loss of consciousness to a temporary disruption of normal brain function.
The broader definition allows for more diagnoses, he said.
Harbaugh said too many conclusions are being made about CTE while much more research is needed.
Until recently, concussions were not tracked among players nor were they part of a player’s medical records. And there is little evidence, he said, of a dose-response relationship. In other words, the number of concussions doesn’t necessarily relate to whether a player develops CTE.
“This is a problem that needs to be addressed,” he said. “It’s a much more complicated situation than we have been led to believe.”
– Bill Bradley, contributing editor