Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"What effect do multiple concussions have on the brain?"
I just had my second concussion according to my doctor. He said it could be dangerous if I keep getting them. What can more than one concussion do to your brain? Could I end up with brain damage if I get another one?
Your doctor is right. It is very important to protect yourself from repeated concussions, as the cumulative damage to the brain can be a major problem. First of all, if you are an athlete, the most important step is to never return to play after a concussion until all of your concussion symptoms are 100% resolved. This is because the risk of more serious brain injury is higher if you have a second concussion before being completely recovered from the first concussion. Over the long term, there is evidence that repeated concussions can cause permanent damage to the brain. The clearest evidence of this is from studies of professional boxers, where there is a clear association between head injury and dementia later in life. Although the evidence is not as strong, there is some data that similar problems, including chronic memory and cognitive impairment can occur in other sports, such as in football players who have multiple concussions. The bottom line is that it is important to protect your brain! Never put yourself at risk of a head injury if you are still recovering from symptoms of a concussion. Follow up with your primary care doctor if you are having headaches, memory problems, or other cognitive symptoms.
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