Central PA Medicine Fall 2017 - 8

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Features

Concussions
By ROBERT E. HARBAUGH, MD

T

here seems to be an insatiable interest in the risks
of sports-related concussions. Because athletes
who participate in contact sports are exposed to
the possibility of repeated blows to the head, there
is a legitimate concern about their risk of developing delayed
neurological dysfunction from chronic traumatic encephalopathy
(CTE) or other neurodegenerative diseases. Unfortunately,
instead of a measured analysis of the relative risks and benefits
of participating in contact sports, what has developed is the
perception of sports-related concussion as a crisis affecting
American youth. This perception is inaccurate and dangerous.
While it is true that the annual number of reported sports-related concussions has increased, this is largely because the bar
for diagnosing a concussion has been lowered. The definition
of a concussion once required a loss of consciousness, but now

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https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/CPAMed/CPMWinter19
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/CPAMed/CPMFall18
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/CPAMed/Summer2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/CPAMed/CPMSpring18
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/CPAMed/CPMWinter18
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/CPAMed/Fall2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/CPAMed/CentralPAMedicine_Summer17
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/CPAMed/CentralPAMedicine_Spring17
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/CPAMed/CentralPAMedicine_Feb2017
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