Concussions in Youth Can Lead to Health Issues Later in Life
Athletes involved in contact sports often take a hit to the body or to the head. Even young athletes who are not destined for a life in professional sports may pay the price for heavy hits as they get older.
Most athletes with a concussion will recover quickly and fully; however, they can lead to long-term problems, says physiatrist, Donna Lanthier, M.D. Repeat concussions can cause long-term neurological and cognitive defects.
They also can lead to a slower recovery and increase the likelihood of having long-term problems, including:
- Alzheimer s disease
- Parkinson s disease
- Rare cases may progress to the development of a blood clot on the brain, which requires immediate medical attention
Parents, students and coaches need to be aware of the risks, Dr. Lanthier says. Ensure protective equipment is properly fitted and well-maintained. Stress safety, good sportsmanship and proper tackling technique.
A high number of concussions occur in high school and college-aged players in sports such as bicycling, football, basketball, soccer and playground activities. If someone sustains a concussion, it s important to allow it time to heal, Dr. Lanthier says. For an adult who had a head injury that occurred 15-20 years ago, depending on the symptoms, physical or behavioral therapy may be prescribed. No medication exists specifically for post-concussion syndrome. It s important to note that young children and teens are more likely to sustain a concussion and take longer to recover than adults. This can lead to long-term problems and, in rare instances, can be fatal.
Second Impact Concussions
Donna Lanthier, M.D.
Lee Physician Group Spine Center
8960 Colonial Center Drive
Fort Myers, FL 33905
*An outpatient department of Lee Memorial Hospital