Americans love football. In early February, more than 100 million viewers tuned in to the Super Bowl to watch the Philadelphia Eagles battle the New England Patriots. Despite a decline of about 7 percent in viewers from the 2017 Super Bowl, this event, like in years past, will likely be the most-watched television event of the year. In fact, Super Bowl viewership can more than double its closest competitor, typically a presidential address or debate. Why do we love football? Some say it’s the violence, that the highlight-reel tackles are what draw in the crowd. And w-e convinced ourselves we were watching a violence that had no consequences. The common thought was that modern helmets and padding prevented players from serious harm and if a player suffered a concussion, the injury was no big deal—the athlete could easily bounce back. Times have changed. We now know that concussions, though considered mild in comparison to other types of head injury, can have serious—and potentially lasting—consequences for brain health. What Is a Concussion? A concussion is a diffuse, nonpenetrating traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a sudden external force. TBIs are classified as mild, moderate, or severe, and by definition a concussion is a mild TBI. Although there has been debate over whether a “concussion” is a type of injury that is distinct from a “mild TBI,” we recognize these terms to be synonymous, in accordance with the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC, 2018) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, 2018). Symptoms of a concussion are classified into four categories: cognitive impairments, such as difficulty concentrating; physiological impairments, such as blurry vision; emotional problems, such as feelings of sadness or depression; and sleep disturbances. Type and severity of these symptoms can vary substantially, and the same force that causes a concussion in one individual may not cause a concussion in another. Previously, loss of consciousness at the time of injury was required for a concussion diagnosis. However, it is now estimated that consciousness is maintained in about 95 percent of cases, suggesting that a substantial number of concussions may have gone undiagnosed under the previous definition. This content is an exclusive benefit for American Academy of Audiology members. If you're a member, log in and you'll get immediate access. Member Login If you're not yet a member, you'll be interested to know that joining not only gives you access to top-notch resources like this one, but also invitations to member-only events, inclusion in the member directory, participation in professional forums, and access to patient resources, tools, and continuing education. Join today!