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May 11, 2017 in News Brain Injury

Brain Injury: Toronto researchers publish pro athlete concussion study

NHL Concussion Study - Brain Injury Lawyers

Last month, researchers at Baycrest Health Sciences' Rotman Research Institute published a comprehensive neuropsychological study of retired professional hockey players in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry. The study, which will be of great interest to brain injury lawyers, seeks to understand concussions in professional athletes beyond chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease that can only be diagnosed post-mortem. It enlisted 33 retired athletes, the majority of whom played in the NHL, and 18 age-matched counterparts with clean bills of health and no history of professional contact sports. The results were surprising, and could complicate a politicized and polarized healthcare debate. According to the researchers, led by Dr. Brain Levine, most NHL alumni were free from significant brain impairment, even as they reported high levels of emotional challenges, like depression and anxiety, and behavioural issues like alcohol dependence, all of which brain injury lawyers are familiar with. "There has been a lot of attention on repeated concussions and neurodegenerative disease, particularly in post-mortem samples of ex-athletes," Dr. Levine said in a Baycrest release. "There is a need for more comprehensive assessment of mental and behavioural changes during life. This longitudinal study will allow us to track changes over time to better understand aging and brain health in retired professional athletes." Though the former NHLers fared comparably well on attention and memory tests, they tended to lag behind on executive and intellectual function, which researchers linked to the number of concussions the alumni group had suffered. However some researchers, advocates, and brain injury lawyers may be surprised that the study's results weren't more conclusive. After all, more than 100 former NHL players are currently suing the league for putting profits over player safety. Even some of the study's participants seemed to be surprised by the lack of "red flags" yielded by the testing. Seventeen-year NHL veteran Scott Thornton, for instance, told the Toronto Star that he sometimes struggles to remember words, conversations, and former teammates' names. "These can be guys I played seven seasons with and I can't think of their names," he said. "I know we all get that at times in life, especially as we age, but I think it's a little more significant than just that. There are times when you have conversations with your wife and kids that you don't even recall. You sit that and swear that you've never heard that conversation before and the whole family kind of laughs. But it gets to a point that you don't like joking about it anymore." It should be noted that Dr. Levine's research team remains at the dawn of their quest to better understand concussions in pro athletes; more nuanced and complete information will be assembled over the coming years. If you have suffered a brain injury or concussion, contact Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers' team of brain injury lawyers today to set up a free, no-obligation consultation and learn how we can help.

Photo credit: Kaz Andrew/Wikimedia Commons

Personal Injury Lawyer at Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers Toronto

Daniel Michaelson

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Medical Malpractice Lawyer

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Brain Injury

 

Injury to the brain can occur in a variety of ways and is often devastating. We understand how difficult it is to navigate the consequences of an acquired brain injury. Whether you or your loved one has suffered a stroke, a surgical complication, or any other medical error resulting in brain injury, our team has the knowledge and experience to help victims secure compensation for their future. Neinstein works closely with the Ontario Brain Injury Association and other experts in the field to support research and programming.

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Personal Injury Lawyer at Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers Toronto

Daniel Michaelson

Partner, Personal Injury &
Medical Malpractice Lawyer

More Posts View Bio

Area of Expertise

Brain Injury

 

Injury to the brain can occur in a variety of ways and is often devastating. We understand how difficult it is to navigate the consequences of an acquired brain injury. Whether you or your loved one has suffered a stroke, a surgical complication, or any other medical error resulting in brain injury, our team has the knowledge and experience to help victims secure compensation for their future. Neinstein works closely with the Ontario Brain Injury Association and other experts in the field to support research and programming.

More Posts Legal Support

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