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Neurosurg Focus. 2012 Dec;33(6):E6: 1-12. doi: 10.3171/2012.10.FOCUS12279.

Structural brain injury in sports-related concussion.

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  • 1Department of Neurological Surgery, Vanderbilt Sports Concussion Center, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee 37232-2380, USA.



Sports-related concussions (SRCs) represent a significant and growing public health concern. The vast majority of SRCs produce mild symptoms that resolve within 1-2 weeks and are not associated with imaging-documented changes. On occasion, however, structural brain injury occurs, and neurosurgical management and intervention is appropriate.


A literature review was performed to address the epidemiology of SRC with a targeted focus on structural brain injury in the last half decade. MEDLINE and PubMed databases were searched to identify all studies pertaining to structural head injury in sports-related head injuries.


The literature review yielded a variety of case reports, several small series, and no prospective cohort studies.


The authors conclude that reliable incidence and prevalence data related to structural brain injuries in SRC cannot be offered at present. A prospective registry collecting incidence, management, and follow-up data after structural brain injuries in the setting of SRC would be of great benefit to the neurosurgical community.

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