The long-term impact of concussions in West Virginia

A study of 43 athletes conducted by a group from St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto found that the impact of a concussion may be seen months or years after it occurs. The study looked at the brains of 22 student-athletes who had a concussion and another 21 who had not. Researchers found that the frontal lobes of those who had suffered a concussion was 10 to 20 percent smaller than those who had not had a concussion.

This is important because the frontal lobe is the section of the brain where decisions are made. If the brain shrinks, it could also cause emotional issues as well as problems with basic tasks such as walking and talking. Data also suggested that a concussion also had effects on blood flow and connections within the brain.

Researchers say that this new information should not dissuade an athlete from playing sports in college as the benefits of playing generally outweigh the negative. It is merely meant to inform athletes and others about the long-term implications that a brain injury may have both physically and emotionally. In some cases, there may be a higher risk of re-injury as well as a higher risk of depression in those who have experienced a brain injury.

Head injuries can of course be caused by incidents other than participation in a contact sport. They frequently result from motor vehicles collisions or sudden falls. When such an injury is caused by another party's negligence, such as a driver who is impaired, distracted or speeding, legal counsel could assist a victim in seeking compensation for medical bills and other expenses.

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