Doctors have gotten much better at diagnosing and treating sports-related concussions, which is a good thing since Americans suffer up to 4 million sports-related concussions a year.
But we're not so good at is following their advice.
Student athletes and parents sometimes balk at doctors' recommendations to avoid play until concussion symptoms are gone, or to cut back on schoolwork. Both have been shown to speed recovery, and getting another hit on a vulnerable brain increases the risk of long-term problems.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, some corners of the Internet are melting down because of a reported shortage of Velveeta. And don't try to act like you don't know what that is. We'll talk about the history of the ooey, gooey stuff and why, in a buffalo mozzarella world, we still like it. But first, to football. This is golden time for pro-football lovers. Two teams will book their tickets to the Super Bowl this weekend after a long season of hard hits.
Doctors have long suspected that head trauma boosts the risk of getting Alzheimer's disease later on, but the evidence on that has been mixed.
But it looks like people who have memory problems and a history of concussion are more likely to have a buildup of plaques in the brain that are a risk factor for Alzheimer's, according to researchers at the Mayo Clinic.
The NFL season is in high gear — a fact that pleases the roughly 64 percent of Americans who watch football. The season rolls on despite the now constant news about concussions in the sport.
The recent TV documentary League of Denial and the book by the same name claim that for years the NFL had denied and covered up evidence linking football and brain damage. Is the concussion conversation challenging this country's deep love for the game?