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What TJ Grant Can Teach Us About Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

Last year I discussed why Sidney Crosby’s concussion is the best thing that happened for mild trauatic brain injury victims.  Last week Canadian Mixed Martial Arts fighter TJ Grant has provided us with an equally teachable moment.  In short he has demonstrated that concussions are serious injuries and need to be treated with respect.
TJ Grant was scheduled to fight for the UFC’s lightweight title.  An opportunity that will take him from relative obscurity into the public spotlight.  This is one of the greatest opportunities that  a professional combat sports athlete can have.   To the surprise of many he stepped down from this opportunity .  This, despite not being guaranteed another shot at the title by UFC brass.  The reason, a concussive injury sustained in practice with lingering post concussive symptoms.
TJ Grant provided a lengthy interview to MMA reporter Ariel Helwani and this is worth listening to in full to help gain some appreciation to the ‘invisible’ aspect of traumatic brain injury, the invasive symptoms TBI can cause and the minor exertions that can create significant set backs in recovery.
As discussed at the Canadian MMA Law Blog , it is now well understood that combat athletes often sustain some of the worst trauma through training, not only by being exposed to possible concussions but through the accumulation of multiple sub concussive blows.  TJ Grant should be commended not only for his personal decision in putting proper recovery first, but for being an example to all combat sport participants that brain health should not be sacrificed, even in the face of possible fame and fortune.

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