Multiple Concussions in High School Athletes Linked to Lasting Cognitive Symptoms

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The National Football League has taken steps recently to protect their players from concussion as multiple reports finds that more than one can lead to permanent problems if they are not managed properly. High school athletics should take similar measures, as repeated concussions can have long-lasting symptoms, including cognitive damage.

Players with Repeated Concussions Have Memory Difficulties

In a study that will appear in an upcoming issue of Neurosurgery, Philip Schatz PhD of St. Joseph’s University finds that teen athletes that sustain multiple concussions may already have early signs of post-concussion syndrome, a complex disorder with symptoms such as headaches and dizziness that can last for several weeks after the injury.

These effects “may be possible precursors to the future onset of concussion-related difficulties,” write the researchers.

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Read: Sports Related Concussions Doubled Among Young Athletes

The study is based on an evaluation of more than 2,500 high school athletes in three states. As part of a routine pre-season evaluation, all students were asked to answer a standard questionnaire regarding concussion-related symptoms. Over 250 athletes had sustained one previous concussion and 105 had two or more. None had sustained the injury within the past four months.

Read: Kids Should Strap Safety Helmets When Playing Sports

Those athletes with previous concussions, especially those with two or more, had higher ratings for three symptoms clusters: cognitive symptoms (difficulty remembering things), physical symptoms (headache, balance problems) and sleep symptoms (such as sleeping more than usual).

The findings should serve as “a caution for parents, coaches, and sports medicine personnel supervising high school and other youth athletes with a history of concussion,” conclude the authors.

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