A recent study is linking mental and physical deterioration in later years to a concussion. Canadian researchers from Montreal University focused on ice hockey players for this test, determining that the repercussions of a concussion are felt as late as 30 years after the initial trauma. A similar study that used soccer players as its subjects determined parallel results, backing up the need for those engaging in sports to wear helmets.
Whether you are a proponent of helmets or not, the crucial point these studies are making is that damage is often seen years and years later; making immediate concussion care, if not prevention, all the more vital. While this study was small-scale (involving 40 former athletes in their 50s), it showed delayed response time, poor memory performance, and impaired hand control in the volunteers who had suffered a concussion in their youth – compared to those who hadn’t.
The lead doctor for this study, Dr. Louis de Beaumont, said that the realization that the effects of a concussion can cause “cognitive and motor function alternations” more than 30 years after the initial injury underlines the need for athletes to be better informed of the risks associated with their sport.
As this study is one of the first focusing on the long-term effects of concussions, there is still a range of data that needs to be taken into consideration. Luke Griggs from Headway brought up the point that the initial care given to the injury may be a factor in the degree of later deterioration in mental and motor skills.
We are encouraged to see that researchers are beginning to look at the whole picture surrounding a traumatic brain injury – not just the immediate results.
Read more here.