“Sports is fundamental to who we are as Americans and our culture. We’re competitive. We’re driven. And sports teach us about team work and hard work and what it takes to succeed not just on the field, but in life.”
—President Barack Obama, White House Conference on Sports Concussions, May 29, 2014
One can hardly tune in to a print or broadcast media presentation these days without learning of some news related to concussion in sports. From fencing to football, baseball to basketball, and beyond, the public is constantly made aware of these occurrences in sports. Such intense interest in the subject led President Obama to convene a White House Conference on the topic. Neurosurgeons are frequently involved in the care of injured athletes and play a leading role in concussion prevention and education strategies. The global interest in this problem, along with the essential role played by neurosurgeons, makes a review of sports concussions both timely and relevant. The goal of this supplement is to provide all neurosurgeons and others interested in sports concussions a state-of-the-art publication that provides concise but thorough articles on our current understanding of sports concussion, its prevention, and its treatment.
This supplement begins with the history of sports concussions, from antiquity to the present day. We learn of the key role played by neurosurgeons in elucidating the mechanisms of concussion in contact sports and our colleagues’ contributions to protective gear and rule changes to keep players safe. We also learn that the first US President to convene a White House conference on concussion in sports was Teddy Roosevelt in 1905. New models of traumatic brain injury in sports have been developed to help us better understand the metabolic cascade that concussion sets off in the brain, and new markers of such injury are being evaluated by neuropathologists. A goal of in vivo imaging of the effects of sports concussion is on the horizon, with exciting new findings in positron emission tomography and high-field-strength magnetic resonance imaging. Serum sampling to detect brain concussion and genetic susceptibility to brain trauma is on the horizon.
Current Concepts in Sports Concussion is online and full-text access is free.