March 26, 2013
From Junior Seau, former San Diego Chargers linebacker, to Dave Duerson, former Chicago Bears safety — who both committed suicide as a result of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) — traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) have been making disturbing headlines at an alarming rate. In the United States alone, TBIs account for an estimated 1.6 million to 3.8 million sports injuries every year, with approximately 300,000 of those being diagnosed among young, nonprofessional athletes. But TBIs are not confined to sports; they are also considered a signature wound among soldiers of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
The potential impact on the health and well-being of individuals with brain injuries are numerous. These individuals might display a range of symptoms — such as headaches, depression, loss of memory and loss of brain function — that may persist for weeks or months. The effects of brain injuries are most devastating when they remain unrecognized for long periods of time. This is where Christian Poellabauer, associate professor of computer science and engineering; Patrick Flynn, professor of computer science and engineering; Nikhil Yadav, graduate student of computer science and engineering; and a team of students and faculty are making their own impact.