Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Sports Concussions Require Long-Term Follow-Up

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Sports Concussions Require Long-Term Follow-Up

Article excerpt

As the National Football League braced for lawsuits by 4,000 former players alleging the league failed to protect them from the long-term consequences of concussions, game-changing research by a leading Canadian researcher has shown damage to the brain can persist for decades after the original head trauma.

"Even when you are symptom-free, your brain may still not be back to normal," said Maryse Lassonde, a neuropsychologist.

Lassonde, whose work is supported by the Canada Foundation for Innovation, was a consultant with the Montreal Canadiens hockey team, treating players with concussions for 15 years. She simultaneously undertook research into the effects of concussions on children and young athletes as well as older athletes. (Related: "Concussion ABCs" in the April/May Health Wise column.)

To study the effects of concussions, Lassonde had athletes perform specific visual and auditory tasks and also mapped their brains with the help of EEG and MRI equipment, in addition to testing brain chemistry.

Her research demonstrates 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.

The results of her work, which have been published in the journals Brain and Cerebral Cortex, 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. …

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