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Concussions Tied to Verbal Memory Loss in Young Athletes

FRIDAY, June 3 (HealthDay News) -- College athletes who suffer a concussion may experience poor verbal memory, researchers have found.

A concussion is a head injury that can cause headache, dizziness, irritability, mood changes, vomiting, changes in vision and hearing, as well as difficulty following instructions.

"This study corroborates the effect of concussion on brain functioning in student-athletes," study author Robert Gardner, a student at Elon University in North Carolina, said in a news release.

In examining 100 female and male college athletes who played football and soccer, the study authors found multiple signs of decreased brain function, or cognitive processing, among those who had sustained a concussion. Specifically, verbal memory was worse in those who suffered the head injury than those who did not.

More than 20 states have already passed legislation to ensure the safety of young athletes, and educate players, parents and coaches about the dangers of concussions. The researchers concluded, however, that even more research is needed to determine the full extent of a concussion's effects on cognition, particularly in the developing brains of children and teens.

The findings were scheduled for presentation this week at the annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine, held in conjunction with the World Congress on Exercise Is Medicine, in Denver. Experts note that research presented at meetings isn't subjected to the same type of scrutiny given to research published in peer-reviewed journals.

More information

The National Collegiate Athletic Association offers more information on concussion in sports.

-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas

SOURCE: American College of Sports Medicine, news release, June 2, 2011

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