Sports concussions 'require long term follow-up'

19 February 2013

Sports players suffering game-related concussions need long-term follow-up care, according to research in Canada.

The study into injury rehabilitation by Dr Maryse Lassonde of the Quebec Nature and Technologies Granting Agency found older athletes who suffered their last concussion 30 years ago had memory and attention deficits and motor problems similar to the early symptoms of Parkinson's disease.

The research also found that brain waves remain abnormal in young athletes for two years following a concussion, and atrophy occurs in the motor pathways of the brain following a hit.

Dr Lassonde, who was a medical consultant with the Montreal Canadiens hockey team for 15 years, said the findings have important implications for the regulation of amateur and professional sports, the treatment of players and the importance of preventing violence in hockey and football.

"If a child or any player has a concussion, they should be kept away from playing or doing any mental exercise until their symptoms abate," Dr Lassonde said.

"Concussions should not be taken lightly. We should really also follow former players in clinical settings to make sure they are not ageing prematurely in terms of cognition."

It comes as the National Football League (NFL) in the US prepares for concussion litigation by more than 4,000 former players, who allege the NFL concealed information about the dangers of repeated head injuries.

Posted by Philip Briggs

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