Fists not football: Brain injuries seen in domestic assaults

CHICAGO (AP) — Debilitating brain injuries from repeated head blows can happen in football, but mounting evidence says they can happen in domestic violence too.

Experts believe many cases go untreated in abused women, and that can make them vulnerable to problems with thinking, mood and behavior.

Recent data suggest that domestic assaults may cause traumatic brain injuries in at least 60 percent of survivors.

Advocates say some survivors are so impaired that they can’t manage their jobs and lives. And some argue that domestic violence screening should include brain injury tests.

Dr. Javier Cardenas (HAH’-vee-air CAR’-de-nus) runs an unusual brain injury program for homeless domestic violence survivors at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix. He says these women are the third chapter in the concussion story, after football players and combat veterans.

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