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Ray Rice: what is a concussion?

Before we leave the topic of Ray Rice and his abuse of his fiancee, what is a concussion and what are the consequences?

Ray Rice is not a nice guy. Oh, I’m sure he has his good qualities and I’ll bet he has a delightful singing voice, but we can’t prove any of that right now. What we can prove, thanks to TMZ, is just how callous and violent he most certainly can be. Violent, that is, to the woman he professed to love before friends and family in a church only weeks after knocking her out in a hotel elevator.

Now, because the TMZ video made it impossible for the NFL to turn a blind eye, Ray Rice is no longer a Baltimore Raven. But because there are many women who suffer at the violent hands of their less-famous husbands or boyfriends, we might pause to watch the video one more time before this story goes cold:

The footage is brutal and shocking on it’s face. But when a single blow to the head causes a person to become unconscious, there is a lot more going on that is also incredibly dangerous. What exactly is a concussion and how does it affect you?

Your brain case – that hollow part of the skull that holds your thinking organ – is buffered by spinal fluid. Rather than sitting flush with the walls of the brain case, the brain is actually surrounded by this thick fluid that acts as a shock absorber. But when the head or body is hit hard enough, the brain can swing and twist wildly enough to make contact with the walls. According to the CDC, the result is bruising and minor bleeding that causes further chemical changes to the brain that can actually make subsequent impacts worse than they might otherwise have been:

This is why it is so important to seek out help immediately, but also why moving an injured person can be so dicey. In fact, the CDC regards all concussions as “Traumatic Brain Injuries,” a phrase which should certainly cause a chill up your spine.

The deficits range from impairment of higher level cognitive functions to comatose states. Survivors may have limited function of arms or legs, abnormal speech or language, loss of thinking ability or emotional problems. The range of injuries and degree of recovery is very variable and varies on an individual basis.

So basically, Ray Rice subjected his soon-to-be fiance to a type of injury that he and every other football player risks every day on the field. When Ray Rice is subjected to a particularly hard blow, he is surrounded with a suite of medical professionals and if necessary, rushed to a hospital where he can be given the best treatment that money can buy. When his fiancee was subjected to a completely unprotected blow to the head and obvious concussion, she was dragged out of an elevator like a sack of cheap meat.

Ray Rice is not a nice guy.

By Tommy Belknap

Owner, developer, editor of DragonFlyEye.Net, Tom Belknap is also a freelance journalist for The 585 lifestyle magazine. He lives in the Rochester area with his wife and son.