Concussions and Your Memory

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In this family of athletes, safety is key.

Dan Nicholson has always been an athlete.

“As soon as organized football started I got involved. I started playing hockey as well in about fifth grade. I wish I’d started younger. I just slowly started racking up concussions along the way. I think my first concussion was my freshman year playing football. By the time I got to the locker room, I had thrown up and I didn’t even know where I was.”

He can’t help but notice some of the lasting effects, “I forget things and I forget why I went in to certain rooms. Sometimes I have gaps in my day. Like where I’ll just be zoning out and I’ll be like did a whole hour just go by and I missed it or was I doing something?”

Concussions are considered mild traumatic brain injuries and these repeated blows to the head can have lasting impact on memory.

David Gallo, Director of the Memory Research Lab at University of Chicago says, “Traumatic brain injury is interesting because it can affect people differently depending on the kind of injury. Memory is one of the symptoms that’s most commonly reported and that in part is probably due to the fact that when we have memory problems they’re very salient to us.”

Dan says the severity of these athletic concussions really hit home for him when he became a father of three and a coach, “We’ve had concussions. It’s a side effect of sports. This past year we had three in one game, my son included. It’s frightening sometimes. “

That’s why Dan developed Head Case, a concussion detection and documentation system involving a helmet sensor that records every single hit or impact that athlete takes during sport and routes through a smart phone for athletes and parents.

Dan breaks down the in and outs of Head Case in the video below:

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