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Sports Concussion and the Risk of Chronic Neurological Impairment

McCrory, Paul MBBS, PhD

Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine: January 2011 - Volume 21 - Issue 1 - pp 6-12
doi: 10.1097/JSM.0b013e318204db50
Thematic Issue

Intense recent media focus on long-term outcomes from sports concussion has highlighted concerns on both cognitive deterioration and mental health issues, such as depression and suicide. At this time, the scientific evidence to support these views is limited, with only a handful of cases thus far reported. Based on the literature on this topic that extends back over 50 years, it is clear that only a small percentage of athletes suffer such sequelae presumably due to recurrent concussive or subconcussive head impacts. At this stage, determining which athletes are at future risk is not possible; however, following existing concussion guidelines (eg, Zurich guidelines) is likely to be the safest option based on current evidence.

From the Centre for Health, Exercise and Sports Medicine, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Submitted for publication March 3, 2010; accepted November 2, 2010.

The author reports no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Corresponding Author: Paul McCrory, MBBS, PhD, Centre for Health, Exercise and Sports Medicine, University of Melbourne, Parkville 3010, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (e-mail: paulmccr@bigpond.net.au).

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.