It’s easy to forget about risks when we’re having fun. And yet, many activities such as cycling, skiing and team sports can result in impacts strong enough to cause a concussion. A recent Montreal-based study involving former hockey players suggests that the effects of a concussion can span decades. The research found that participants who suffered at least one concussion in their youth were more likely to show signs of physical and mental problems, even more than 30 years after the initial accident.
The study involved 40 former athletes between the ages of 50 and 60, 19 of whom had a history of one or more concussions. The participants underwent a battery of tests, covering everything from motor control to short-term memory and the ability to follow simple written or verbal commands. The athletes who had a history of concussion did not perform as well in the memory tests, had a slower response time to commands, and needed more time to complete the hand coordination tests. However, none of the former athletes showed signs of more serious problems and they all maintained a very active lifestyle.
Experts knew that recovery from a head injury could be slow. Some people can require months to recover and are sometimes discharged from the hospital without receiving sufficient information on the potentially long-term effects of their injury. While some accidents are difficult to avoid, others can be prevented if certain safety measures – such as wearing a helmet – are observed.
Before taking part in an activity that carries the risk of a strong impact, always think about your head!