The Impact of Sports-Related Head Injuries

Jan 16, 2012

Host: Lauren Meltzer

Producer: Matt Fidler

This weekend the 49ers will play in the NFC Championship here in San Francisco.  The winning team will go on to The Super Bowl. The players demanding top dollar are bigger and faster making the hits and tackles more dangerous.  Indeed the Center for Disease Control has concluded sports concussions have reached an "epidemic level” - between 1.6 and 3.8 million sports-related concussions occur in the United States each year with links being drawn to depression, memory loss and even suicide. What is it about the concussion that makes it so dangerous?  Is there anything that can be done to minimize the long-term damage of such hard and frequent hits?  Or is there any chance that coaches and players at the NFL, college and high school levels might change the way they play the game?


  • Dr. Cindy Chang, chief medical officer for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team in London, president of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, and former head physician of the Cal Athletic Department from 1995-2008.
  • Dr. Eric Freitag, psychologist, clinical neuropsychologist, credentialed ImPACT consultant, and founder and executive director of the Mt. Diablo Memory Center.
  • Ben Lynch, former Cal and NFL offensive lineman. He played for the 49ers for four years.