Super “Bowl” – Concussions, Cannabis and a Cure?

September 12, 2017
BY: Domhnall O'Cathain

With impeccable timing, the Bleacher Report published a pre-season article to make us feel better about the crunching tackles we are going to see on our TV screens over the next few months.

“Imagine a pill that could make all the NFL’s concussion problems go away?” it asked us. It quoted one doctor who optimistically stated that we should have the cure by 2025.

The Deal On Concussions

What is a concussion?

It is traumatic brain injury caused by shaking the brain with the skull.

Who suffers from concussions?

Very often car crash victims suffer from concussions even though the media most often focuses on concussions suffered by veterans and football players.

What are some of the potential long term impacts of a permanent brain injury from a concussion?

Those impacted are often experiences feelings of being withdrawn, antisocial, moody, anxious, overwhelmed, and, most frighteningly, suicidal.

Some Drugs Help Combat Brain Injuries

medical marijuana

So, what are these wonder drugs?

One of the drugs focuses on “turbocharging” the brain’s ability to heal itself.

Another drug focuses on destroying the compounds that cause brain damage.

Yet another, promoted by Nate Jackson, is weed: “I use cannabis when I am in pain but otherwise lead a medication free-lifestyle,” he offered.

The Need For Relief

Missing from the Bleacher Report was a discussion of preventing concussion. Better to tell players that there might be light at the end of the tunnel so that they keep running out onto the field.

Perhaps the best observation from the article was a statement that, “It’s hard to be skeptical when you’re desperate for a cure”. Is this why so many folks with chronic pain turn to opioids and anything that will make them feel better in the short-term?

In personal injury, we all too often hear about car crash victims who have given up hope because of chronic pain. The insurance company has cut off the payments for physical therapy. The headaches don’t stop. No more good night sleeps. Motivation is hard to find.

Because the pain is caused by injury to the soft tissues and from a concussion, other folks cannot see and understand the pain. Like the mouse that was given 5 concussions for 2025 drug experiment, the human concussion victim wants to be left alone, away from other people.

With so few options, some of these victims have turned to the street. Indeed, one prominent personal injury once half-jokingly told me that he wished that he could call drug dealers as expert witnesses at trial to explain the pain of his clients.

Thankfully, the nation has started a conversation on opioids. With that, we hope, comes a conversation on pain management, concussions and chronic pain. Maybe, the wonder drug will come, but that, for now, is a Hail Mary. Let’s talk what we can prevent now while still working for a cure.