Acronym of the week would be more accurate, but GDUFA will be used as a word so it might as well be defined as one. With the passage of the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act on July 9, 2012, GDUFA (‘Generic Drug User Fee Amendments...
Editor's Note: This post was co-authored by Ketchum alum Heather Allen.
With more and more research coming out about
the importance of head safety and how life-threatening concussions and other head trauma can be, multiple industries are taking a hard look at how to be safer.
Take the NFL for example, gone are the years of the “Leather Lids” in the 1920s, as recent developments by Riddell (the official helmet supplier for the NFL) announced a new helmet in 2002, “The Revolution,” which was the first major innovation in 25 years. The ongoing issue of concussions really came to a head (no pun intended) with the highly-publicized side-effects from athletes such as Ted Johnson experiencing so much head trauma.
CNN Health reports that the best medical definition for a concussion is “a jarring blow to the head that temporarily stuns the senses, occasionally leading to unconsciousness – considered “an invisible injury.” But today, using tissue from retired NFL athletes, the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy (CSTE), at the Boston University School of Medicine, has been able to look at tissue and the effect on the brain. These findings show that it is far from an invisible injury, but can cause what many ex-NFL players have experienced – severe brain damage – which has now been named: chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
Riddell itself released findings in 2006 of a three-year study of more than 2,000 high school football players by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), showing that the new Revolution helmet provides better protection against concussions and could translate to 18,000 to 46,000 fewer concussions among the 1.5 million high school players who play football.
Protecting one’s head isn’t just for pro-athletes. Twenty states and the District of Columbia have laws requiring all motorcycle riders to wear a helmet, twenty-seven states only require some riders to wear a helmet and three states (Illinois, Iowa, and New Hampshire) do not have a motorcycle helmet law. States have found that many motorcycle crashes result in a concussion, or worse. Guidelines and laws have also been passed for bicycle riders as well, all to protect one’s head.
Communications in the media regarding this issue have broadened as the scope of the problem has become better understood. A professional sports issue has expanded to a school sports story, amateur athletics, and most recently, women engaging in sports such as lacrosse.
The U.S. military are feelings the effects of head trauma as well. In March of 2010, the U.S. military announced that battlefield medics would soon conduct mandatory examinations of service members who had sustained concussions, rather than waiting for complaints of symptoms. Concussions are the most common form of traumatic brain injury in the military from the bombs used in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The military is now following the lead of the NFL in that they too are looking for better helmet ideas. Researchers in 2006 estimated that 28 percent of military personnel in the U.S. sustained a minor brain injury, such as a concussion, while deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. And now, troops must wait up to a year for advanced medical equipment needed to treat concussions to be delivered, thanks to the lack of urgency seen from some military leaders (as reported by Gregg Zoroya, USA Today, April 15, 2011).
Therefore, take precaution, be careful and protect your head. And if you do sustain a head injury from a car accident or another event, talk to your doctor about how you are feeling and the injuries sustained before they turn into something more dangerous. CTE is a serious progressive degenerative disease and is one whose effects of memory loss and confusion, among other things, can show up within months of an incident or years or decades later.
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