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Study links repeated concussions with dementia

For school-aged children, the positive aspects of participating in sports are frequently discussed. Involvement in school athletics helps kids get exercise to ward against obesity. Additionally, according to TrueSport.org, kids that participate in team sports tend to have higher self-esteem, get better grades and have stronger friendships.

While there's no doubt that, for many kids, participation in a school sport is a positive experience; in recent years, the possible negative health effects associated with some sports have come to light. For example popular sports like football, soccer and basketball have been linked to serious head injuries like concussions.

The negative health effects of suffering even one concussion are often readily apparent to those impacted. In cases where an athlete suffers repeated concussions and head injuries, the resulting adverse side effects may range from headaches, confusion, memory loss, emotional changes and vision changes.

A recent study also links repeated concussions and blows to the head, with accelerated aging and dementia. The study was published in the journal Acta Neuropathologica and links repeated head injuries with the development of a serious degenerative brain condition known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE.

According to Boston University, CTE is a “progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in athletes (and others) with a history of repetitive brain trauma.” The results of this study serve as a reminder to school administrators, coaches and parents of the dangers associated with suffering repeated head injuries.

Schools and coaches must not only take measures to prevent athletes from suffering head injuries, but they must also ensure that adequate concussion protocols are followed to ensure that a child who has suffered a concussion isn't put at risk of suffering additional head injuries and serious brain damage.

Source: Medical Express, "Study finds repetitive brain injuries may accelerate aging, dementia risk," May 12, 2015

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