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N.B.A. Injury sparks discussion on concussions

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Taj Gibson (67) is defended by Oklahoma City Thunder guard Terrance Ferguson, left, in the first half of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019. Russell Westbrook is at right. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Thunder center Nerlens Noel suffered a serious hit to the head during Tuesday night's game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Thunder said Noel spent the night in the hospital for tests and observation He's now been released and placed on the N.B.A.'s concussion protocol.

Turns out, concussions are one of the most common sports injuries among athletes of all ages, and can be very serious.

“They're dizzy, maybe they're throwing up, they don't know where they're at, or they can't answer simple questions, that's a pretty good sign that you need to seek medical attention as soon as possible," Chris Berry, The District Executive Director at the Y.M.C.A. said.

More than three million concussions are reported every year in the United States. Many of those, happen in sports.

A new study published in the Neurobiology of Disease, indicates just one year of high school football can cause damage to the brain, even without being diagnosed with a concussion.

Other studies indicate, the minor brain injuries are also closely linked to depression and in severe cases, suicide; but it's not just high school football, that's the problem.

Berry said, “Concussions are a very serious matter regardless of the age, and so we would encourage every person regardless of their suspected head injury, to get that checked out by a medical professional."

After a head injury, players and parents should remember the three 'R's.

First, recognize what a concussion is, learn the symptoms and warning signs.

Next, respond by removing the athlete from the activity and seeking medical attention right away.

Lastly, return to play, only when the athlete has been cleared to do so.

“You know, a lot of people played through having their bells rung a long time ago and so there’s a common perception of weakness with head injuries,” Berry explained,” so at any point if there is a suspected head injury, it's better safe than sorry."

Recent studies show the best way to reverse the damage caused in minor head injuries, is rest. That’s especially true in young people.

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