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Recently Dr. Bennet Omalu wrote an op-ed piece in the New York Times titled "Don't Let Kids Play Football".  This article created quite a stir around the NFL and sports talk radio, especially with the upcoming "Concussion" movie starring Will Smith due out on Christmas Day.  The movie is based on the true story of Dr. Omalu's research and discovery of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, or C.T.E., in players of high-contact sports like football, hockey, and boxing.

I applaud Dr. Omalu for his pioneering work on concussions.  I also applaud him for taking what is likely to be an unpopular stance that will undoubtedly impact the popularity of America’s favorite sport.  Despite taking all precautions, however, if you get a head injury, what should you do?  What treatments work and what don’t?  More attention needs to be focused on effective treatments because, even if kids are not playing football, concussions and mild traumatic brain injuries will continue to impact many people each year.

Causes of TBI, Concussions Source: CDCAs a practitioner and consultant to several providers of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), I have seen many patients with post-concussion syndrome experience profound life-changing results using HBOT, including reduced irritability and tiredness, improved concentration, memory, and mood, less headaches and dizziness.

The science of HBOT for post-concussion syndrome and mild traumatic brain injury begins with understanding the mechanisms of HBOT:

  • Increasing blood vessel formation in damaged tissue
  • Decreasing swelling and inflammation
  • Increasing the release of stem cells from bone marrow with the increased migratory efficiency to area of injury
  • Revving up mitochondrial function of cells and regenerating malfunctioning or low functioning cells (including neurons)

PlosOne Study on TBI, ConcussionsDr. Shai Efrati, a physician at the Sagol School of Neuroscience in Tel-Aviv, recently published a study, titled, “Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Can Improve Post-Concussion Syndrome Years after Mild Traumatic Brain Injury – Randomized Prospective Trial".  In the study, Dr. Efrati and his team took 56 patients with prolonged post-concussion syndrome.  He used SPECT imagining, cognitive evaluations, and quality of life testing and determined that HBOT can induce neuroplasticity (brain’s ability to form new neural pathways) leading to repair of chronically impaired brain functions and improved quality of life in these patients.

PloseOne Study: TBI, Concussions - Assessment of the relative changesThe CDC estimates that 1.7 million Americans suffer a brain injury each year, with 75% of those injuries coming in the form of concussions.  This amount increases significantly when the number of brain injuries is considered among military servicemen and women.  Keeping kids away from violent contact sports like football will do a lot to prevent concussions.  But we’re not going to avoid head injuries altogether.  When they occur, we need effective treatments like HBOT. 

Dr. Scott SherrScott D. Sherr, M.D.
Consultant to Hyperbaric Medical Solutions (Medford, Woodbury, and Manhattan, NY), Bay Area Hyperbarics (Los Altos, CA), and Advanced Hyperbarics (Marin, CA)



Hyperbaric Medical Solutions

Written by Hyperbaric Medical Solutions

Hyperbaric Medical Solutions is a free-standing, independent medical practice, providing hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT). HBOT is an advanced healing therapy that treats conditions that benefit from increased oxygen concentration and absorption in the body....

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