Teen athletes need to know the risks of concussions

Thank you for publishing the article on concussions in youth sports ("Teen athletes suffer long-term effects of concussions," Sept. 12). It was long overdue. This is a serious problem, and everyone who loves sports and is involved in helping young people to participate should be aware of the risks.

As a neuropsychologist who has worked in concussions for years, I felt that the one area your article did not sufficiently stress was the danger inherent in repeated concussions. The injuries tend to be cumulative, and after each concussion the next is typically easier to get and worse than the one that precedes it.

Unfortunately, parents and schools are often confronted by athletes so eager to return to the game that they have a hard time resisting the pressure, even when a future injury may be life-altering. As painful as not being able to participate in a sport may be in the short-term, it is nothing compared to the possible long-term losses that can occur with that one hit too many.

Each concussion is an injury to the brain; consulting with a neuropsychologist or other qualified clinician knowledgeable in the risks is important for the long-term well-being of our young people.

Frank A. Wolkenberg

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