While the investigation surrounding Kansas City Chiefs linebacker and former UMaine Black Bear Jovan Belcher continues, questions are being asked about the possible role, if any, concussions played in his horrific actions.
 
The word 'concussion' is often used, especially in the case of athlete injuries. But, what is a concussion, exactly?

Doctors say it's a "mild traumatic brain injury," that affects the way the brain functions, by disrupting connections between nerve cells.
 
"You look dazed, you look confused, you look confused, you look unsteady on your feet, you may have a headache, you may have difficulty remembering things. It's very common for example, for people to forget what happened to them when the concussion occured," explains Dr. Peter Keebler, Chief of Rehabilitation at Eastern Maine Medical Center.
 
And while Dr. Keebler says it's rare for a single incident to have any long-lasting effects, the danger comes when injury is repeated over a period of time.
 
"One of the biggest things we see in any brain injury, but is true in mild injuries as well, is loss of what's called executive funtion, which is the directive nature of the brain, in the sense of being able to focus, to concentrate, to have good insight, to make good judgement," says Dr. Keebler.
 
Take the high-profile cases of Dave Duerson and Junior Seau, two former NFL athletes who committed suicide within the last two years. Both incidents have raised questions about the correlation of head injuries to mental illness, and dementia.
 
As only in recent years has athlete head trauma come to the forefront of medical research, only additional attention to the subject will close the book on questions, not only in the case of Duerson and Seau, but Jovan Belcher as well.

National News