Study shows increased risk of death in young athletes if they return to sport too soon after head injury
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I was interested to read about this study which looked at nearly 2,000 cases listed in the National Registry of Sudden Death in Young Athletes. It focused on 261 players aged 21 and younger who had died from a trauma-related injury over the past 30 years.
Lead author Dr Barry Maron, of the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation, said the study highlighted the dangers of 'second impact syndrome.' He said a worrying number of young football players who died of head and neck blows had already sustained concussions a few weeks before.
The registry listed 1,827 sudden deaths among young athletes from 1980-2009. Fourteen per cent of them, or 261, were caused by trauma-related injuries. Trauma fatalities were most frequent in football at 148, including 17 high school players who died after they had already sustained concussions a few days to four weeks beforehand.
Dr Joel Brenner, chairman of the Council on Sports, Medicine and Fitness of the American Academy of Pediatrics, said: 'It gives credence to everything we've been trying to do to make it safer for young athletes out there with proper treatment of concussions.'
The authors stressed that trauma deaths among young athletes are relatively uncommon and are four times less common than cardiovascular deaths. The average has remained relatively constant around nine per year. 'Nevertheless, these catastrophic events remain an important public health issue with a devastating effect on families, communities, and physicians,' the study said.
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