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As the popularity of action sports grows in the average adult are we going to see a large increase in CTE diagnoses?
CTE is linked largely to American Footballers and concern is growing about the effect it has on rugby players too. But your average adult does not play contact sport and certainly not into their 30s and 40s. What is more common in this age group is a penchant for less traditional-sports for example, skiing, snowboarding, surfing and mountain biking.
A recent study on the frequency head and neck injuries in ‘extreme sports’ found that, as popularity of these sports continues to rise, so does the incidence of concussions and head and neck injuries.
Skiers experience a high number of concussions but snowboarders have a rate that is three times the rate of skiers. Although surfing has a lower brain injury rate surfers are more likely that most other athletes to fracture their necks. Mountain bikers also have a high neck fracture rate.
The study also points out that when these sorts of injuries occur, access to medical care in these can be relatively more difficult, due to their remoteness. This is especially compounded by limited healthcare on weekends when most people partake in these sports in their spare time. This may mean that these injuries are also under-reported and may be even more common.
The adventure sports world was rocked by the revelation earlier this year that the autopsy of BMX biker Dave Mirra who committed suicide, showed signs of CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy), the degenerative brain condition which is normally associated with American Football.
The takeaway point being not to necessarily avoid these sports but to always wear a helmet and always seek medical attention if you do suffer an injury.
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