-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, Oct. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Standards used to diagnose
concussion in college athletes are inconsistent and require clearer
definitions and better tools to make the diagnosis, researchers
Their five-year study included 450 male and female athletes who
played on football and hockey teams at three major U.S.
universities: Brown University, Dartmouth College and Virginia
During the study period, concussions were diagnosed in 44 of the
athletes. Four of them had two diagnosed concussions, resulting in
a total of 48 diagnosed concussions. A specific impact could be
linked with 31 of the concussions, but that was not the case in the
other 17 concussions.
Mental cloudiness, headache and dizziness were the most commonly
reported symptoms of concussion. Only one athlete with a concussion
lost consciousness. An immediate diagnosis of concussion was made
six times, and many athletes did not start having symptoms until
several hours after their head injury.
The researchers noted that concussion diagnosis is largely based
on athletes' reported symptoms, which can vary greatly and may not
be the best way to determine who is at risk for future
concussion-related neurological and psychiatric problems.
In addition, the way the term "concussion" is used in sports
injuries may differ from how it is used in other medical
circumstances, potentially hindering communication about the
factors most likely to affect patient outcomes, the study authors
noted in a news release from Massachusetts General Hospital.
"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," study leader Dr. Ann-Christine Duhaime, director of the pediatric brain trauma lab at Massachusetts General Hospital, said in the news release.
"Some patients who receive a diagnosis of concussion go on to have very few problems, and some who are not diagnosed because they have no immediate symptoms may have sustained a lot of force to the head with potentially serious consequences," she explained.
The study was published in the Oct. 2 issue of the
Journal of Neurosurgery.
The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about
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