H E A D    I N J U R Y

The Lasting Legacies of Concussion — or Not

(Excerpted from Surviving Martial Arts)
by C. M. Shifflett

Brain injury or its symptoms are often cause for disdain or hilarity.

“Too many hits to the head.” Hee-hee-hee!
“Punch drunk.” Hee-hee-hee!
“Did your mother drop you on your head as a baby?” Hee-hee-hee!

To those who have suffered brain injury — or the loss of friends or companions they once treasured, it’s no joke.

We don’t even have a model for what is actually involved, or just how damaging head trauma can be. TV and movie characters are regularly knocked unconscious and dragged away to the closet or the dock. But within seconds the James Bonds and the Mike Hammers, even a Mark Trail (knocked out by the usual Bad Guys) and a Spiderman (knocked out by The Incredible Hulk) are up and fully functional with nothing more than a brief headache and a colorful simile.

They are never blinded by the blow to the visual cortex in back of the head.

They never suffer memory loss or changes in mental or physical skills.

They aren’t downgraded in their duties.

They are never let go from their jobs.

And . . . they will do it all again next week.

In Real Life, head injuries can mean the end of a career, critical skills, relationships, family ties, and income. If you get back on the mat it may be with slowed reaction time and even slowed relaxation time.

You won’t be able to respond or move or recover as quickly.

You won’t win.

And you may even lose your Day Job.

The Dumb Football Player, Punch Drunk Boxer, Crazy Judoka are long-standing stereotypes which may be based on chronic head injury. However, aside from boxing, the martial arts do not necessarily pose a higher-than-normal risk of head injury. Ordinary modern life offers endless possibilities . . . Next

Copyright(c) 2006 Round Earth Publishing. All rights reserved.
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