‘Playing through’ concussions is damaging

Andrew Van Dam

About Andrew Van Dam

Andrew Van Dam of The Wall Street Journal previously worked at the AHCJ offices while earning his master’s degree at the Missouri School of Journalism, and he has blogged for Covering Health ever since.

HDNet’s Dan Rather reported on second-impact syndrome (see transcript here), the “concussion on top of a concussion” he said killed five football players last year. Some athletes may take a few days to heal from a concussion, others may take a few months. If an athlete returns to the field before his or her concussion is healed, Rather reported, the potential for further brain damage is greatly increased.

The report features Zackery Lystedt, a teen who suffered brain injuries in a football game in 2006. Tom Wyrwich of The Seattle Times also reported on Lystedt in his article about second-impact syndrome in November.

Rather reports that a just-released study by Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio found that 41 percent of high school athletes return to play too soon.

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