The Concussion Crisis: Anatomy of a Silent Epidemic

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Overview

For far too long, the menace of concussions has been hidden in plain sight. On playing fields across America, lives are being derailed by seemingly innocuous jolts to the head. From the peewees to the pros, concussions are reaching epidemic proportions. This book brings that hidden epidemic and its consequences out of the shadows.

As frightening as the numbers are—estimates of sports-related concussions range from 1.6 million to 3.8 million annually in the United States—they ...

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The Concussion Crisis: Anatomy of a Silent Epidemic

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Overview

For far too long, the menace of concussions has been hidden in plain sight. On playing fields across America, lives are being derailed by seemingly innocuous jolts to the head. From the peewees to the pros, concussions are reaching epidemic proportions. This book brings that hidden epidemic and its consequences out of the shadows.

As frightening as the numbers are—estimates of sports-related concussions range from 1.6 million to 3.8 million annually in the United States—they can't begin to explain the profound impact of a hidden health problem that can strike any of us. It is becoming increasingly clear that concussions, like severe head traumas, can rob us of our memory, our mental abilities, our very sense of self. Because the damage caused by a concussion is rarely visible to the naked eye or even on a brain scan, no one knows how many millions might be living lives devastated by an invisible injury too often shrugged off as "just a bump on the head."

This book puts a human face on a huge public health crisis. Through narratives that chronicle the poignant experiences of real people struggling with this invisible and often unrecognized brain injury, Linda Carroll and David Rosner bring home its potentially devastating consequences. Among those you will meet are a high school football player whose college dreams were derailed by a series of undiagnosed concussions, a hard-driving soccer star whose own struggles with concussions pushed her to crusade for safety reform as a coach and soccer mom, and an economist who lost her career because of lingering concussion symptoms from a fender bender.

The Concussion Crisis weaves these human dramas with compelling stories of scientists and doctors who are unraveling the mysteries of how an invisible injury can wreak such havoc. It takes listeners into the top labs, where scientists are teasing out what goes wrong in the brain after a jolt to the head, and into the nation's leading concussion clinic, where patients get cutting-edge management and treatment. Carroll and Rosner analyze the cultural factors that allowed this burgeoning epidemic to fester unseen and untreated. They chronicle the growing public awareness sparked by the premature retirements of superstars like NFL quarterbacks Troy Aikman and Steve Young. And they argue for an immediate change in a macho culture that minimizes the dangers inherent in repeated jolts to the head.

The Concussion Crisis sounds an urgent wake-up call to parents, coaches, trainers, doctors, and the athletes themselves. The book will stand as the definitive exploration of this heretofore-silent health crisis. It should be required listening for every parent with a child playing sports—in fact, by everyone who has ever suffered a hard bump on the head.

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Editorial Reviews

Frank Deford
…thoughtfully passionate and comprehensive…The Concussion Crisis is quite a devastating testament. It lays it all out and forces us to ponder how a civilized people can blithely accept an entertainment that does such damage to young men's minds.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
On the heels of the recent deaths of NHL player Derek Boogaard and NFL safety Dave Duerson involving possible brain trauma, this book detailing the current plague of sports-related concussions, written by MSNBC.com health writer Carroll and sports scribe Rosner, is a very hot topic. The authors cite estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that there are 1.6 million to 3.8 million sports-related concussions every year. With more than 44 million girls and boys playing organized sports, the writers spell out the dire consequences of impact games without proper safety measures. They provide grisly statistics and cautionary examples of schoolchildren and sports figures such as big league football stars Troy Aikman, hockey star Pat LaFontaine, and boxer Jerry Quarry, who have compromised health after a life of competition and concussions. The authors recount how scientists have come to understand the danger concussions pre-sent—ranging from memory loss to impaired judgment and dementia—and note that although treatments and research in brain injuries are showing promise, prevention is the best way to protect both child and adult athletes. This noteworthy book issues a challenge to the "macho play-through-the pain" sports culture and urges a rethinking of safety versus spectacle. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
"This noteworthy book issues a challenge to the "macho play-through-the pain" sports culture and urges a rethinking of safety versus spectacle." —-Publishers Weekly
Library Journal
10/01/2013
An interesting historical look at our developing understanding of the damage resulting from concussion. (LJ 9/1/11)
Library Journal
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is often in the news. Returning war veterans have sustained these injuries in battle, and another group of victims incurs them right here at home: young athletes injured while playing football or basketball or engaging in other contact sports such as boxing. Many suffer no immediate consequences and assume their injuries amount to no more than a bump on the head. Some who seek medical attention neither show signs nor exhibit symptoms of injury. Despite this, there is often damage, especially if there have been repeated injuries. Health writer Carroll and sports writer Rosner examine the epidemic by looking at the lives of victims as well as the doctors and scientists researching these injuries. They include information on the anatomy and physiology of the brain, the damage caused by traumatic injury, and case histories of young children as well as professional athletes (e.g., Muhammad Ali, Jerry Quarry, and Steve Young). Injured soldiers and accident victims also tell their stories. VERDICT This valuable book brings an important public health issue to light. Highly recommended for public and consumer health libraries.—Barbara M. Bibel, Oakland P.L.
Kirkus Reviews

A comprehensive, anecdote-laden analysis ofconcussive head traumas.

MSNBC.com and New York Times health writer Carroll and former Newsday and Neurology Now reporter Rosner examine the concussion epidemic as a "major public health crisis," noting that many of these cases go ignored only to reemerge in adulthood as early-onset Alzheimer's disease or dementia, as in the case of boxing legend Sugar Ray Robinson. The authors reinforce their assertions with numerous case histories involving young athletes like teenaged football hopeful Dave Showalter, whose raw potential was stunted by the cumulative effects of repeated head injuries. More recognizable victims include NFL gridiron heroes Troy Aikman, Al Toon and Steve Young, and hockey stars Eddie Shore and Pat LaFontaine—all of whom were forced into early retirement as a result of concussive brain damage. Carroll and Rosner spotlight the expansive reach of the syndrome by including female athletes equally susceptible to the malady, car-accident victims, a 13-year-old football player who suffered catastrophic injuries from a solitary event, military soldiers in Iraq and the coaches and professional athletic leagues who, under pressure from players, parents and the industry at large, brush off these potentially life-threatening wounds. Though the personal profiles vastly outnumber chapters on remedies, they are consistently intriguing and alarming, accentuated by brain-injury particulars, scientific and medical statistical data and clinical studies by leading concussion experts like Dr. Robert Cantu, who, after two decades of research, published defined guidelines on the duration athletes should be sidelined after a concussive event to prevent permanent damage from "second-impact syndrome." The authors argue that while positive change is underway with heightened awareness from NFL teams and elsewhere, the majority of concussions still go undiagnosed and that education remains the best defense against this "invisible injury with subtle symptoms that often seems to pass quickly."

A cautionary wake-up call about addressing a seemingly innocuous hit to the head with critical care.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781451627459
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 2/21/2012
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 434,713
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author


Linda Carroll is a nationally respected health writer who has covered a broad range of health topics for MSNBC.com, the New York Times, and other publications.

David Rosner is an award-winning journalist with extensive experience covering sports and health for publications including Newsday, Time, and the Sporting News.

Pam Ward has performed in a variety of venues, but she found her true calling reading books for the blind and physically handicapped for the Library of Congress Talking Books program, for which she received the prestigious Alexander Scourby Award from the American Foundation for the Blind. She is also an AudioFile Earphones Award winner.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 24, 2011

    Excellent!

    I found this book to be very insightful in helping me learn more about brain injuries. While its focus is mostly on the physical injury, there was some about how difficult it is for students to learn after the head injury.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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