Review Article

Sports-Injury Encephalopathy

Authors: Angeline Prabhu, MD, Bilal Abaid, MD, Samreen Fathima, MD, Shivani Naik, MD, Steven Lippmann, MD


Sports-related encephalopathies are a growing concern among athletes who have experienced head trauma. Anxiety is heightened for the public and especially among parents of children playing contact sports. The most common neuropsychological conditions are concussions and traumatic encephalopathies. Concussions result from brain traumas that can be asymptomatic, but more serious concussions can include loss of consciousness, neurological abnormalities, and/or posttraumatic amnesias. Repetitive concussions lead to persistent brain pathology, known as chronic traumatic encephalopathies. This gradually progressive neurodegenerative disease frequently presents with cognitive and neurological deficits, which can result in significant parkinsonian features and dementia. Imaging studies may be noncontributory; however, diffusion tensor imaging, magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and functional magnetic resonance imaging can detect changes indicative of these encephalopathies. Progressive neuronal degeneration with tau proteins are documented on pathological examination. Prevention, early diagnosis, and proper treatment are the recommended approach to these conditions.

Posted in: Sports Injuries & Trauma1

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