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Study identifies predictors for playing time lost after concussion in professional hockey players

Post-concussion headache, low energy or fatigue, amnesia and abnormal neurologic findings are significant predictors of playing time lost among professional hockey players, according to a study conducted during 7 National Hockey League seasons and recently published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

The National Hockey League (NHL), in conjunction with the NHL Players’ Association, launched an initiative in 1997 to improve the understanding of concussions. As part of the initiative, investigators examined initial post-concussion signs, symptoms, physical examination findings and playing time lost for male professional ice hockey players.

These initial post-concussion clinical manifestations were assessed in terms of their use in predicting playing time lost among hockey players.

“Our results suggest that there was a trend toward a gradual increase in post-concussion time loss over the study period,” lead author Brian W. Benson, PhD, stated in a press release. “More should be done to educate everyone involved about the potential adverse effects associated with continuing to play while symptomatic, failing to report symptoms to medical staff and failure to recognize or evaluate any suspected concussion.”

In all, 559 concussions were reported by team physicians during the study period, which amounted to 1.8 concussions per 1,000 player-hours. Headache was the most common post-concussion symptom (71%), with average time lost in days increasing 2.25 times for every subsequent concussion sustained during the study period.

Other post-concussion symptoms reported with frequency included dizziness (34%), nausea (24%), neck pain (23%), low energy or fatigue (22%), blurred vision (22%), amnesia (21%) and loss of consciousness (18%), according to the release.

 

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