Concussion symptoms are inconsistent, hard to diagnose

October 12, 2012

Topic: injury prevention

It may matter which shoes athletes wear on artificial turf

According to a new study published in the Journal of Neurosurgery, the criteria previously used to diagnose concussions may not be adequate for identifying all occurrences of the injury. Also, there are inconsistencies when it comes to defining a concussion, depending on if it's a result of a sport injury or due to sometime else.

Researchers from Brown University, Dartmouth College and Virginia Tech looked at the effects of repeat impacts to the head in 450 high school athletes, who wore special helmets that could measure the frequency, magnitude and location of head impacts. They recorded approximately 486,000 head impacts among the participants, and diagnosed 44 of them with at least one concussion. The most common symptoms were headache, dizziness and mental cloudiness.

However, there were only six cases where a concussion was diagnosed immediately after the impact occurred. This is mostly due to the fact that symptoms often don't present themselves until a few hours afterward, making it difficult for some patients to immediately receive treatment.

"The term 'concussion' means different things to different people, and it's not yet clear that the signs and symptoms we now use to make a diagnosis will ultimately prove to be the most important pieces of this complicated puzzle," said study leader Ann-Christine Duhaime, M.D. 

For high-impact sports, coaches should emphasize injury prevention techniques to decrease an athlete's risk of having a concussion.  

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