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Youth hockey is a high-impact sport and can cause concussions with lasting effects. We hypothesized that important injury prevention information would accrue from longitudinal tracking of concussed players with persisting concussion symptoms (PCS).
This case series comprised 87 consecutive concussed ice hockey players aged 10–18 including 66 males and 21 females referred to our Concussion Clinic from 1997 to 2017 and followed longitudinally by clinic visits and questionnaires.
PCS occurred in 70 (80.4%) of 87 concussed players and lasted 1–168 months in males and 3–26 months in females. Bodychecking was the most common concussion mechanism in 34 (39.1%) players and caused PCS in 24 (70.6%) with symptom duration 4.00 [2.75, 14.50] months (median [IQR]). The remaining 53 players had other concussion mechanisms with PCS in 86.8% (p = 0.113) with similar duration (p = 0.848).
This is the first longitudinal study of concussion with PCS in youth hockey and showed that symptoms can last for several years. Bodychecking was the commonest mechanism of prolonged disability from concussion in boys and girls’ hockey with average PCS duration of 12.3 months but several years in some players. The injury prevention message is to raise the age of permitted bodychecking to 18 in boys’ hockey from age 13 to 14 where it is currently. In this case series, this change could have prevented the majority of the bodycheck concussions and several years of suffering from PCS and is strong evidence for raising the permitted age for bodychecking in boys’ ice hockey to age 18.
Background: Epidemiologic studies have suggested that concussion, or mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), is associated with a twofold or greater increase in relative risk for the development of post-traumatic epilepsy. To assess the clinical validity of these findings, we analyzed the incidence of epilepsy in a large cohort of post-concussion patients in whom concussion was strictly defined according to international guidelines. Methods: A retrospective cohort study of 330 consecutive post-concussion patients followed by a single concussion specialist. Exclusion criteria: abnormal brain CT/MRI, Glasgow Coma Scale<13 more than 1-hour post-injury, hospitalization >48 hours. Independent variable: concussion. Outcome measure: epilepsy incidence (dependent variable). Results: The mean number of concussions/patient was 3.3 (±2.5), mean age at first clinic visit 28 years (±14.7), and mean follow-up after first concussion 7.6 years (±10.8). Eight patients were identified whose medical records included mention of seizures or convulsions or epilepsy. Upon review by an epileptologist none met criteria for a definite diagnosis of epilepsy: four had episodic symptoms incompatible with epileptic seizures (e.g., multifocal paraesthesiae, multimodality hallucinations, classic migraine) and normal EEG/MRI investigations; four had syncopal (n=2) or concussive (n=2) convulsions. Compared with annual incidence (0.5/1000 individuals) in the general population, there was no difference in this post-concussion cohort (p=0.49). Conclusion: In this large cohort of post-concussion patients we found no increased incidence of epilepsy. For at least the first 5-10 years post-injury, concussion/mTBI should not be considered a significant risk factor for epilepsy. In patients with epilepsy and a past history of concussion, the epilepsy should not be presumed to be post-traumatic.
In this article, we conduct a review of introduced and enacted youth concussion legislation in Canada and present a conceptual framework and recommendations for future youth sport concussion laws. We conducted online searches of federal, provincial, and territorial legislatures to identify youth concussion bills that were introduced or successfully enacted into law. Internet searches were carried out from July 26 and 27, 2016. Online searches identified six youth concussion bills that were introduced in provincial legislatures, including two in Ontario and Nova Scotia and one each in British Columbia and Quebec. One of these bills (Ontario Bill 149, Rowan’s Law Advisory Committee Act, 2016) was enacted into provincial law; it is not actual concussion legislation, but rather a framework for possible enactment of legislation. Two bills have been introduced in federal parliament but neither bill has been enacted into law. At present, there is no provincial or federal concussion legislation that directly legislates concussion education, prevention, management, or policy in youth sports in Canada. The conceptual framework and recommendations presented here should be used to guide the design and implementation of future youth sport concussion laws in Canada.
Background: In response to the rising incidence of concussions among children
and adolescents, the province of Ontario recently introduced the Ontario
Policy/Program Memorandum on Concussions (PPM No. 158) requiring school
boards to develop a concussion protocol. As this is the first policy of its
kind in Canada, the impact of the PPM is not yet known. Methods: An electronic survey was sent to all high school principals in the
Toronto District School Board 1 year after announcement of the PPM.
Questions covered extent of student, parent, and staff concussion education
along with concussion management protocols. Results: Of 109 high school principals contacted, 39 responded (36%). Almost
all schools provided concussion education to students (92%), with most
education delivered through physical education classes. Nearly all schools
had return to play (92%) and return to learn (77%) protocols. Although 85%
of schools educated staff on concussions, training was aimed at individuals
involved in sports/physical education. Only 43.6% of schools delivered
concussion education to parents, and many principals requested additional
resources in this area. Conclusions: One year after announcement of the PPM, high schools in the Toronto
District School Board implemented significant student concussion education
programs and management protocols. Staff training and parent education
required further development. A series of recommendations are provided to
aid in future concussion policy development.
The surgical results in 40 patients with syringomyelia, treated with a syringosubarachnoid shunt or other procedures are reviewed. The principal indication for surgery was that of significant neurological deterioration. There were 12 patients with idiopathic syringomyelia without tonsillar ectopia, 12 with an associated Chiari malformation, 11 with post-traumatic syringomyelia and five patients with spinal arachnoiditis. There were 38 syringosubarachnoid shunts performed in 35 patients, and an excellent or good result was achieved in 26 patients (74.3%). In terms of the type of syringomyelia, the best results were obtained in the idiopathic group without tonsillar ectopia and in the post-traumatic group. A short duration of pre-operative symptoms favoured a better outcome, and in our opinion, early surgical treatment is indicated for all patients with neurological deterioration. All eight patients in whom a posterior fossa decompression was performed as the initial surgical procedure required a second operation, either a syringosubarachnoid or syringoperitoneal shunt to achieve neurological improvement or stabilization. Thus, the syringosubarachnoid shunt is an effective therapeutic modality for patients with syringomyelia, particularly for the idiopathic and post-traumatic groups. More than one surgical procedure may be required to achieve cessation of deterioration. Overall, excellent or good results were achieved in 29 (72.5%) of the 40 patients.
A decrease in spinal cord blood flow (SCBF) is a known sequela of spinal cord injury. The radioactive microsphere technique permits repeated measurement of spinal cord blood flow (SCBF) and cardiac output (CO) in the same experimental animal. The purpose of this study was to adapt the radioactive microsphere technique for use in the rat extradural clip compression injury model used in our laboratory.
Thirteen adult Wistar rats were anaesthetized and ventilated. Mean systemic arterial pressure (MSAP) was recorded continuously. Control animals (n = 8) did not have a surgical procedure whereas the injured animals (n = 5) underwent a C7-T1 laminectomy followed by a one minute, 50 gram extradural clip compression injury at Tl. Radioactive microspheres were used for two blood flow and CO determinations in both groups.
MSAPfell 59% in the injured animals (p<0.01), but this was not accompanied by significant changes in heart rate or CO. There was a 50% reduction in SCBF in the injured cord (p<0.02), and there were significant reductions in cerebral blood flow (p<0.05) and cerebellar blood flow (p<0.02) following spinal cord injury.
Although many types of sports and recreational activities have been identified as common causes of acute spinal cord injury, hockey has been a rare cause of acute cord injury in Canada or elsewhere. For example, from 1948 to 1973 there were no patients with cord injuries due to hockey in a series of 55 patients with acute cord injuries due to sports or other recreational activities admitted to two Toronto hospitals. In contrast, between 1974 and 1981, the Acute Spinal Cord Injury Unit, Sunnybrook Medical Centre treated six patients with cervical spinal injury due to hockey, five of whom were seen during a 13 month period from September, 1980 to October, 1981. Five of the six sustained a severe acute cervical spinal cord injury, and one a cervical root injury. The cord injury was complete in two cases, while three had complete motor loss but incomplete sensory loss below the level of the lesion. All were males aged 15 to 26 years. Of the players with cord injury, four struck the boards with the neck flexed, and one struck another player with the neck flexed. The one player without cord injury struck the boards with his neck extended. The commonest bony injury was a burst fracture of C5 or C6. One of the patients with a complete cord injury died three months later of a pulmonary embolus, and the other patients with cord injury showed some recovery of root function, but little or no cord recovery. The reasons for the increase in spinal injuries in hockey are unknown.
An unusual case of sphenoethmoidal sinusitis complicated by cavernous sinus thrombosis, meningitis and pontine and cerebellar infarction is described. The patient presented with advanced intracranial complications which in retrospect caused delay in recognition and treatment of the underlying sphenoethmoidal sinusitis. Surgical drainage of the sinusitis was ultimately required. The pathogenesis of these complications is discussed, and the topic of sphenoid sinusitis reviewed in order to emphasize the numerous neurological manifestations of this disease.
This paper reviews the author's personal experience with the management of 204 patients with the clinical diagnosis of acoustic neuroma. Craniotomy was performed in 181 of these cases, all of whom were proven to have acoustic neuromas. The remaining 23 cases with the clinical diagnosis of acoustic neuroma did not have tumour surgery, mainly because of advanced age or concurrent disease, although some required shunts for hydrocephalus. The management of acoustic neuromas including the selection of surgical approach depends upon the patient's age and general health, the size and growth direction of the tumour, previous surgical attempts at removal, and the presence of hydrocephalus, a contralateral tumour, and serviceable hearing. Twenty-nine other cases with the clinical diagnosis of acoustic neuroma underwent craniotomy: 20 had petrous or tentorial meningiomas encroaching on the porus acousticus or growing in the internal auditory canal, six had neuromas of the seventh cranial nerve and three had arachnoiditis occluding the internal auditory canal.
Fifty-nine patients were treated in a prospective, randomized comparison of pentobarbital and mannitol for the control of intracranial hypertension resulting from head injury. Patients with elevated intracranial pressure (ICP) after evacuation of intracranial hematomas were randomized to one of two treatment groups; mannitol initially or pentobarbital initially, followed by the second drug as required by further elevation of ICP. Similarly, patients with raised ICP but without hematomas requiring evacuation were randomly assigned to two treatment groups in an identical paradigm.
Those with ICP elevation and no hematoma treated with pentobarbital as initial therapy had a 77% mortality compared to a 41% mortality for those with mannitol as initial treatment. Patients with evacuated hematomas had mortalities of 40% and 43% (no significant difference) for pentobarbital and mannitol respectively. In both no-hematoma and hematoma streams pentobarbital was less effective than mannitol for control of raised ICP.
Multivariate statistical analysis indicates that pentobarbital coma is not better than mannitol for the treatment of intracranial hypertension and may be harmful in no-hematoma patients with intracranial hypertension after head injury.
Stereotactically delivered radiation is now an accepted treatment for patients with acoustic neuroma. In some cases, patient preference may be the reason for its selection, while in others neurosurgeons may select it for patients who are elderly or have significant risk factors for conventional surgery. The majority of patients with acoustic neuroma treatment with stereotactic radiosurgery have been treated with the Gamma Knife, with follow ups of over 25 years in some instances. Other radiosurgical modalities utilizing the linear accelerator have been developed and appear promising, but there is no long-term follow up. Canada does not possess a Gamma Knife facility, and its government-funded hospital and medical insurance agencies have made it difficult for patients to obtain reimbursement for Gamma Knife treatments in other countries. We review the literature to date on the various forms of radiation treatment for acoustic neuroma and discuss the current issues facing physicians and patients in Canada who wish to obtain their treatment of choice.
Concussion is a prevalent brain injury in the community. While primary prevention strategies need to be enhanced, it is also important to diagnose and treat concussions expertly and expeditiously to prevent serious complications that may be life-threatening or long lasting. Therefore, physicians should be knowledgeable about the diagnosis and management of concussions. The present study assesses Ontario medical students’ and residents’ knowledge of concussion management.
A survey to assess the knowledge and awareness of the diagnosis and treatment of concussions was developed and administered to graduating medical students (n= 222) and neurology and neurosurgery residents (n = 80) at the University of Toronto.
Residents answered correctly significantly more of the questions regarding the diagnosis and management of concussions than the medical students (mean = 5.8 vs 4.1, t= 4.48, p<0.01). Gender, participation in sports, and personal concussion history were not predictive of the number of questions answered correctly. Several knowledge gaps were identified in the sample population as a whole. Approximately half of the medical students and residents did not recognize chronic traumatic encephalopathy (n = 36) or the second impact syndrome (n = 44) as possible consequences of repetitive concussions. Twenty-four percent of the medical students (n = 18) did not think that “every concussed individual should see a physician” as part of management.
A significant number of medical students and residents have incomplete knowledge about concussion diagnosis and management. This should be addressed by targeting this population during undergraduate medical education.
The problem of concussions in professional hockey has attracted much recent attention. To evaluate the current state of this injury in the National Hockey League (NHL), we analyzed the concussion incidence and time lost from play due to concussions during the past ten NHL seasons.
Data were obtained from a complete review of injury reports in two different sports media sources covering the NHL seasons 1997-98 through 2007-08. Time lost from play was measured in missed games per concussion.
The incidence of concussions reported in the regular season ranged from a high of 1.81/1000 athlete exposures in 1998-99 to a low of 1.04/1000 athlete exposures in 2005-06. There was a downward trend in the number of concussions reported per season during the past ten years (p=0.01). However, average time lost from play per concussion increased over the same period (p<0.0005). Forwards suffered a disproportionately high percentage of concussions (p<0.0001).
Possibly related to injury reduction efforts, the number of concussions reported per season in the NHL has trended downward in recent years. However, the incidence of concussion remains high and the average time lost from play per concussion has increased. This may reflect increased injury severity in recent years or, alternatively, increased adherence to modern management guidelines preventing premature return to play.