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Many High School and College Athletes Risk Brain Damage

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Lovell tells WebMD that some brain injuries are inevitable in contact sports. But he says proper training in tackling technique, for example, can reduce the chance of injury. He also says physicians and coaches should order mental functioning tests for athletes who suffer even mild head injuries so that any long-term damage can be spotted early.

That position gets strong support from James P. Kelly, MD, a researcher at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. He writes in an editorial accompanying the studies that doctors who care for athletes need to "develop a better appreciation of the consequences of concussion."

The study on college athletes was supported in part by grants from the Arthur J. Rooney Foundation and Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan.

 

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