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Concussion in sport: better studies needed to assess long term health effects, experts say

BMJ 2023; 381 doi: (Published 15 June 2023) Cite this as: BMJ 2023;381:p1375
  1. Matthew Limb

Experts on concussion in sport have said that better designed studies are needed to understand the possible long term effects on athletes, such as later life dementia, mental health problems, cognitive impairment, and neurological disease.

In a new international consensus statement on concussion in sport, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (BJSM) on 14 June, experts recommended a multidisciplinary working group be established to guide appropriate research.1

The statement—which was based on outcomes from the sixth international conference on concussion in sport, held in October 2022—noted that there is “increasing societal concern about possible problems with later life brain health in former athletes, such as mental health problems, cognitive impairment, and neurological disease.” It was informed by 10 systematic reviews, while 600 conference delegates were also surveyed on research priorities.

Speaking at a media briefing on 13 June, statement co-chair Jon Patricios, professor of sport and exercise medicine at Wits University, Johannesburg, said, “Potential long term effects are an area people feel requires a lot of research and it …

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