David Camarillo – TRANSCRIPT
The word concussion evokes a fear these days more so than it ever has, and I know this personally. I played 10 years of football, was struck in the head thousands of times, and I have to tell you, though, what was much worse than that was a pair of bike accidents I had where I suffered concussions, and I’m still dealing with the effects of the most recent one today as I stand in front of you.
There is a fear around concussion that does have some evidence behind it. There is information that a repeated history of concussion can lead to early dementia, such as Alzheimer’s, and chronic traumatic encephalopathy. That was the subject of the Will Smith movie “Concussion.” And so everybody is caught up in football and what they see in the military, but you may not know that bike riding is the leading cause of concussion for kids, sports-related concussion, that is.
And so another thing that I should tell you that you may not know is that the helmets that are worn in bicycling and football and many activities, they’re not designed or tested for how well they can protect your children against concussion. They’re in fact designed and tested for their ability to protect against skull fracture. And so I get this question all the time from parents, and they ask me, “Would you let your own child play football?” Or, “Should I let my child play soccer?” And I think that as a field, we’re a long way from giving an answer with any kind of confidence there.
So I look at that question from a bit of a different lens, and I want to know, how can we prevent concussion? Is that even possible? And most experts think that it’s not, but the work that we’re doing in my lab is starting to reveal more of the details around concussion so that we can have a better understanding. The reason we’re able to prevent skull fracture with helmets is because it’s pretty simple. We know how it works.