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Dementia Risk Higher for NFL Players
Date:9/30/2009

lative effect on the brain.

Another expert noted the dangers of concussion might be more marked in younger players.

"One of the concerns is, 'Are concussions in kids that same as they are in adults,' " said Dr. Christopher Giza, an associate professor of pediatric neurology at the University of California, Los Angeles. "It has the potential to be a significant problem. It seems that younger brains might be more sensitive to these kind of injuries."

Giza said it takes a week to 10 days to recover from a concussion. "If you give an appropriate amount of time for the brain to return to normal, there may not be a long-term consequence -- the long-term consequence may be minimized," he said. "But, if you have second or third injuries before the brain is fully recovered, perhaps the risk for a cumulative problem is amplified."

Giza advises parents and coaches that a concussion can occur even if the child did not lose consciousness. Even if there is any temporary clouding of consciousness, there may be a concussion, he said.

"If the individual is still symptomatic, headache, dizziness, confusion, nausea, unsteadiness, they should not return to play," Giza said. When the symptoms disappear they can talk with their coach or trainer about returning to sports, which is not the day the symptoms disappear.

Mangat said that when players reach the NFL -- where safety is taken more seriously because of the money involved -- brain damage may already have occurred. "There should be regular neuropsychological testing prior to joining a college team or a professional team to be able to 'red flag' someone who starts to show some decline," he said.

The University of Michigan study wasn't limited to mental health. According to the authors, the survey found "retired players to be in very good stead, overall. They are satisfied with life and deeply connected within their social networks and communities. Their history of p
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