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Preventing head injuries

Credit: Kidsday staff artist / Kiera Pagano, Massapequa

The brain is an important organ in the human body. It tells all the other organs what to do. But when we keep hurting the brain continually, or bang it against our skull, that is where problems occur. In 2002, Dr. Bennet Omalu discovered a disease found in people who have suffered from severe head blows. This disease is called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

CTE is a progressive degenerative disease found in people who have suffered a severe blow to the head. It has been found in athletes participating in football, soccer, ice hockey, wrestling and other contact sports who have experienced repeated concussions or other brain trauma. Individuals with CTE may show symptoms of dementia, such as memory loss, aggression, confusion and depression, which may appear years or many decades after the trauma.

Because of this discovery, professional and peewee sports leaders have taken precautions for protecting players. Even though precautions are made and people know what could happen, that doesn’t mean people will always listen and believe it. As a fan of football, and a player myself, I understand why athletes want to continue to play — for the love of the game. But is the love of the game worth risking your life and being able to get CTE and other brain trauma?

A lot of kids don’t play certain sports because they are afraid of getting hurt. I feel that kids shouldn’t be afraid to play contact sports such as football and hockey. I believe everyone should try these sports because they not only teach teamwork and leadership, but also discipline. Using the right equipment should help protect you on the field.

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