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Concussion is a common childhood injury that may lead to long-term physical, behavioral, and neurocognitive effects, affecting learning and school performance. There is increasing concern about the potential for repeat concussions among professional and high school athletes, with specific attention focused on understanding how sustaining a concussion alters future concussion risk. Addressing repeat concussion risk among youth has substantial implications for clinical practice in terms of managing exposure — particularly regarding youth sports participation — and long-term health and development.
“You’re supposed to rest after concussion.” This advice has been given countless times to patients recovering from concussion. How did we get here, what is the evidence that brought us here, and what does the evolving evidence actually tell us?
A Harvard Medical School study published in Nature Communications shows a molecular relationship between TBI and CTE but also a possible treatment mechanism — just not one that can be used to treat humans quite yet.
It is increasingly recognized that moderate to severe traumatic brain injury increases the risk for dementia in older adulthood. Whether mild TBI is associated with increased risk of dementia is less clear, especially because fewer prospective studies have focused on mild TBI. This is an important gap in the field, especially because concussion is relatively common, among both the general population and certain groups such as athletes and military service members.
Women athletes are 50% more likely than male athletes to have a sports-related concussion. Although more susceptible to concussions, the study indicates that women recover from the injury at the same rate as men.
According to a national poll, a majority of Americans say they believe concussions and brain injuries resulting from sports are a major problem and leagues like the NFL are not doing enough to respond.
A Mayo Clinic study links amateur contact sports — football, boxing, wrestling, rugby, basketball, baseball and others played while in school — with the development of CTE, which when severe can affect mood, behavior, and cognition.
Contact with another player was the most common way boys and girls sustained concussions in a study of US high school soccer players, while heading the ball was the most common soccer-specific activity during which about one-third of boys and one-quarter of girls sustained concussions.