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
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
''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
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