The latest sport to take a serious look at brain injuries is hockey. 

In fact, this year a growing number of health experts are calling for a ban on intentional hitting and fighting in the game of hockey. And the debate is getting more attention ever since Pittsburgh Penguins’ star Sidney Crosby recently announced his decision to quit the game indefinitely.  He says it’s because he’s still suffering “concussion-like symptoms” from a blow to the head he suffered more than a year ago.

Experts say this is just the latest example of the dangerous connection between contact sports and brain injuries. New research shows that repetitive blows to the head are increasingly being linked to severe health problems – including memory loss, chronic headaches, and even early onset dementia.

In fact, three former hockey players have died in recent years, after being diagnosed with C-T-E.  That’s a degenerative brain disease that’s been linked to people who’ve sustained multiple head injuries, like concussions.

The good news is that studies show you can improve your odds of staying healthy if you give your brain enough “healing time” following an injury.  Recovering from a concussion requires physical and mental rest for about 10 days because anything that requires physical or mental activity can make your symptoms worse.

So, if you get hit in the head, seek immediate medical attention if you experience headache, nausea, confusion, dizziness, or have trouble with your balance. Want to know how to recognize and treat a concussion? Take the free online concussion training session at CDC.gov/Concussion.