The following is excerpted from an online article posted by ScienceAlert.
Many people will experience a concussion at some point during their life – whether that’s from a contact sport or just an unfortunate fall. But even a ‘mild’ version of this injury can cause long-term health impacts for a portion of those who experience it.
A new study from a team of researchers across New Zealand has found that up to eight years later, adults who had experienced a mild concussion reported more ongoing symptoms, depression, and problems with work than those who never had one.
This is not to say that all people who experience a concussion – also called a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) – will have ongoing symptoms, however, it highlights that concussion can be a really life-altering event for those people who don’t just get better after a couple of weeks.
“It is estimated that more than 10 million people experience a TBI each year, with 70–95 percent of these being classified as mild. TBI has widespread impacts, and whilst the effects of moderate and severe TBI are well documented, much less is known about the long-term outcomes of mild TBI,” the researchers – led by University of Waikato psychology researcher Nicola Starkey – wrote in their new paper.
“Over a third (36 percent) of the participants with mild TBI reported that they thought they were still affected by the brain injury they had 8-years ago.”
Unsurprisingly, those who’d had a concussion reported more problems. What is surprising, however, is just how long these symptoms can stick around for – a third of the participants believed they were still impacted by their concussion eight years later. These long-term symptoms weren’t mild either, with the questionnaires suggesting some people had PTSD or anxiety, issues with work, and post-concussion syndrome.
The worst outcomes seemed to be in women, particularly those who’d had multiple concussions.