Football Season And The Dangers Of Head Injuries

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Football season is right around the corner, and we could not be more excited! Whether you prefer college football or the NFL, football season is the time to ignite rivalries, kick back for tailgating, and smash your coworkers in that competitive fantasy football league. Any dedicated football fan knows that there’s one thing that can truly ruin the season, and that crops up every year: injuries.

We’ve all seen our best fantasy player get taken out for the season, or witnessed gruesome tackles that make your body hurt just to see. Football injuries are, sadly, very common, and they can ruin a team’s chances for a winning season and have lifelong effects on the athlete. MRI’s are a commonly used imaging tool during the peak of football season, largely because of their ability to diagnose brain injuries. 

There’s been a lot of emphasis in recent years about the danger of repeated concussions, especially in the NFL. Sports injuries like concussions can have lasting effects. MRI’s are not only one of our favorite imaging tools, but these scans are now being used to study these effects.

Radiology’s Role In Diagnosing Football Injuries

Football is territory for injuries. Whether it's broken bones or torn muscles, radiology plays an important role in diagnosing these injuries. Moments after an athlete is carried off the field from an injury, an x-ray is usually the diagnostic imaging tool of choice. Because of its ability to take images of bone fractures, this procedure can quickly assess the severity of the injury and determine whether additional testing is necessary. 

In addition to x-ray’s, MRI’s are one of the most common scans for football players to undergo after sustaining an injury. MRI’s are useful for analyzing muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues. CT scans can be used for orthopedic injuries and traumatic injuries as well.

The Danger Of Sports Concussions

One of the most dangerous football injuries is concussions. Concussions are often caused by direct impact to the head, which is a common occurrence on the field. While these injuries can vary in severity, the long-term effects of these injuries can affect brain function.

A new study revealed that the degenerative brain disease known as CTE was diagnosed in 99% of 111 deceased NFL players whose brains were donated for research. This staggering percentage has raised more concerns regarding the risks football players are exposed to even at a young age. MRI’s have been used to further study the link between football and the risk of traumatic head injuries.

Fortunately, radiology can be used to research and diagnose sports injuries for future purposes. After any serious injury, diagnostic imaging is the first step to ensure athletes stay safe. With four football teams local to the Bay area, our team will be keeping an eye out for the biggest NFL matchups this season.