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Campaigner urges long-term view on sports brain injury


Campaigner urges long-term view on sports brain injury

Concussion campaigner Peter Jess has urged sports doctors to shift their attention to the treatment of long-term brain injuries, declaring it is nonsense to suggest there is no link between concussion and post-career problems.


Jess, a prominent AFL player manager who has invested considerable time and money on the issue, dismissed claims by leading doctors that it was too early to link concussion with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease.


Doctor Ryan Kohler, who will attend the Concussion in Football Conference, beginning on Wednesday at Etihad Stadium, was the latest to do so.


''Whilst I applaud the AFL's initiative in holding the concussion conference, I'm concerned about the thought process of Dr Ryan Kohler, and the comments attributed to him in Fairfax Media,'' Jess said.


''Concussion in the 1980s and '90s is a concussion that cannot reasonably be distinguished from a concussion today.

''If anything, concussions are more likely to occur due to the speed of the game and the body size of players today compared with the '80s and '90s.


''To say that there is no casual relationship between concussions and long-term impairment is counter to the available research today.


''In fact, a study conducted at the New York University has indicated that structural changes to the brain can be measured after a single concussive episode. Regional brain atrophy is not exclusive to moderate and severe traumatic brain injury, but may be seen after mild injury, such as a concussion.''


The two-day conference will feature representatives from the AFL, NRL, ARU and FFA, with the initial discussion highlighting how each code has responded to concussion management.


A later session will focus on potential risks and long-term consequences, likely to include the contentious argument of CTE.

References and further information

The original article was produced by The Age.

To view the rest of this article, visit The Age website.


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