Health professionals are trying to get the word out on concussions and traumatic brain injuries. Dr. Komal Ashraf is the director of the Concussion Program at MU Health Care. She is trying to educate the public.

“Chromic traumatic encephalopathy is a thing,” she said. “So, we see in gross specimen of the brain that people have atrophy with, especially, repeated, or larger concussions or head injuries that are untreated. Those symptoms, especially the, you know, eyebrow raising ones, end up being when there’s been a lot of emotional outbursts.”

A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury resulting from a direct blow to the head, face, or neck. It can result in a wide array of short- and long-term symptoms including changes in mood, vision, and sleep disturbances.

“The frontal lobes are crucial for emotional control and judgement,” Ashraf said. “That’s also one of the premiere areas that are injured after a TBI or during a TBI. So, what we see happen long-term is that, especially in people that have repeated head injuries, is that unfiltered emotional lability and behavior.”

Most recently, a female athlete in Australia, for the first time ever, was diagnosed with the degenerative brain disease after she died at age 28 last year.

“We can see chronic headaches that become really difficult to treat,” according to Ashraf. “We can see that people just aren’t able to have the cognition to even drive and maintain their independence. Long term consequences can be anything that happens in the short term can also happen in the long term and that we know that it really affects quality of life in people long, long term.”

If you suffered a concussion or head injury, Ashraf recommends you go see a health expert.

A free event is being held on Saturday, July 22 at the Missouri Athletic Center in Columbia for anyone who has ever worried that they or a loved one suffered a concussion. To register, click here.

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