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Concussion Has Long-Term Effects For Teen Athletes

New research published in the February 2011 issue of the medical journal Neurosurgery revealed that high school athletes who had two or more concussions were more likely to report physical, emotional, and cognitive problems than those who had never had a concussion.

“It appears that youth athletes who sustain multiple concussions experience a variety of subtle effects, which may be possible precursors to the future onset of concussion-related difficulties,” the researchers write.

The study looked at 2,500 high school athletes in three states. The researchers found that the athletes with two or more concussions had symptom “clusters,” that affected the way they could think, their sense of physical well-being, and their sleep. For example, young athletes with multiple concussions were more likely to have memory problems, “foggy” thinking, headaches, dizziness, balance problems, and sleeping more or less than usual.

According to the press release for the journal:

Recent reports have highlighted the cognitive and psychological aftereffects of repeated concussions, including cases of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and degenerative brain disease in retired football players and other athletes.

“As a result of these findings, there is concern that repeated concussions can result in brain pathology that leads not only to cognitive difficulties, but to serious emotional sequelae in later life,” wrote lead researcher Philip Schatz, Ph.D., of Saint Joseph’s University, Philadelphia, and the International Brain Research Foundation.

This is another link in the chain that relates even mild traumatic brain injury to long-term problems. At HensonFuerst, we take all cases of head trauma seriously. With teen sports, it is clear that we all need to be more vigilant about safety.

  • Teens should be encouraged to report all instances of head injury, and should not return to play until cleared by a physician.
  • Proper safety equipment should be mandatory for all sports.
  • Trainers and parents should watch for signs of concussion, and make sure that teen athletes receive medical care.

When it comes to any head injury, the rule of thumb is: Better safe than sorry. Let’s all take care of growing brains. If you have any legal questions about head injuries, please feel free to visit our website at www.hensonfuerst.com, or call one of the lawyers of HensonFuerst at 1-800-4LAW-MED.

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