Acute and lasting effects of concussion in sports: diagnosis, prognosis, treatment and prevention
Dowling, Thomas J. III
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Sports-related concussions are a very large public health concern and have only recently been brought into the national spotlight, thanks largely to the increased media coverage following the deaths of several current and former players of the National Football League (NFL). This problem extends not only to professional athletes, but reaches down through college, high school and to our youth athletes as well. The symptoms resulting from concussion are diverse and include both acute and long-term effects, and could have particularly debilitating effects on the developing brains of young athletes. Various neurocognitive deficits, as well as neurodegenerative diseases such as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) have been associated with concussions. Research about both the short and long-term effects of concussions has been growing in recent years, and will continue to grow as advanced neuroimaging tools and biomarkers become better developed. This will improve diagnostic capabilities, result in better prognoses, as well as treatments and prevention. This review analyzes current literature in order to evaluate the lasting impacts of sports-related concussions. By showing the effects of sports-related concussions, especially on the developing brain, policy changes aimed at the prevention of concussion in sports will be suggested, specifically in terms of mitigating the adverse effects of concussions on brain development.
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