Concussions: The Aftermath for Athletes
Concussions are head injuries that can cause many problems for the individuals, even though they can seem very minor at the time.
Dr. Paul Echlin of Ontario and Dr. Martha Shenton of Brigham and Women’s Hospitals, in collaboration with other researchers from Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital and Western University of Canada conducted a study on hockey players to see the effects of concussion on the athletes, postseason.
About the Concussion Experiement
- The experiment used 45 male players and 5 female players from the university level.
- Researchers did magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) analysis on the participants.
- The Researchers then compared brains of players before, during and after the athletic season.
- 11 players were diagnosed with a concussion during the season.
- They were scanned additionally 72 hours, two hours and two months after the concussion happened.
Results of the Concussion Study
- The scans found inflammatory changes and miniscule white matter in concussed brains.
- White microstructure of brain in those concussed during season or had history of concussions is significantly different from those who were not injured.
- These changes can be a result of neural damage, micro-hemorrhaging and other brain trauma.
- Concussions were 3-5 times more likely in the individuals who participated in the study than otherwise reported in other medical research.
Long-Term Effects Linked to Concussions
Concussions are dangerous and can lead to many other brain issues. Certain changes can lead to depression, dementia, personality changes, as well as communication problems. Other serious side effects can include:
- Depression: Increased risk after concussion and if athletes are concussed while depressed, symptoms may worsen.
- Post Traumatic Seizures: May occur days or months after concussion and usually are treated with anticonvulsant therapy.
- Post Concussion Syndrome: Post concussion symptoms that can last longer than three months, higher risk of depression, can indicate how severe concussion is.
According to Dr. Echlin, more research on athletes that play contact and non-contact sports is a necessity in order to verify their findings.
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