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Single Versus Cumulative Concussion

Single Versus Cumulative Concussion

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What the literature indicates, and what we often times see in a clinical setting is that after a single, uncomplicated concussion, most individuals--athletes or otherwise-- follow a course of complete recovery somewhere in the order of 7 to 10 days, with a very small percentage of individuals perhaps having a more protracted recovery for a period of several days to a couple of weeks. Recurrent concussion can result in a lengthier recovery time, perhaps increase an individual's risk for chronic symptoms-- such as headaches, dizziness or balance problems, cognitive difficulties-- and then the big picture right now suggests that they may be at increased risk of late-life disorders-- such as problems with memory, what we refer to as mild cognitive impairment-- and perhaps even degenerative diseases--such as Alzheimer's disease-- as well as neuropsychiatric disorders, such as depression and anxiety.

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For most people after a single concussion, a 7-10 day course of rest and recovery clears up most problems. Recurring TBIs are a different story.


Produced by Victoria Tilney McDonough and Brian King, BrainLine.

Michael McCrea, PhDMichael McCrea, PhD is the executive director of the ProHealth Care Research Institute and Neuroscience Center near Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He is a board-certified clinical neuropsychologist and has headed up the Neuropsychology Service at Waukesha Memorial Hospital since 1996.

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