Following Börje Salming’s ALS diagnosis, experts say more research is needed on head injury risk.

The news that Toronto Maple Leafs icon Borje Salming has ALS is an indication of the prevalence of ALS among athletes and its potential for linking with the type of head injury many have suffered throughout their careers. It became clear during the progress of research on the relationship between

It’s not known at this time if Saming’s 20 years as a hockey star has anything to do with the diagnosis the 71-year-old Summing now publicly shares.

But researchers are increasingly looking at the types of impact that cause concussions and head injuries that may present no symptoms at all. They say research needs to continue to keep today’s athletes safe.

Salming announced Wednesday that he has been diagnosed with ALS, which stands for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Salming played 16 seasons for the Maple Leafs from 1973 until he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1996.

ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is characterized by loss of muscle control that eventually leads to complete paralysis. Life expectancy from onset of symptoms is usually about 2 to 5 years. There is no cure, but there are treatments aimed at slowing the disease.

Neuroscientist Daniel Daneshvar, Ph.D., an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and a brain injury physiotherapist at the Massachusetts General Hospital Brigham Network, said 90% of ALS cases are considered “sporadic,” so researchers should It says it means you don’t know. Its origins—it’s paramount for scientists to investigate the cause of his ALS.

And one of the identified risk factors is traumatic brain injury, he said.

Severe head trauma that causes a concussion is a contributing factor, he explained, but repeated head trauma that may have caused no symptoms at all is also a contributing factor.

“At this point, we are still working to prove the relationship, but it is clear that the fundamental commonality between athletes at high risk for ALS and those without is a history of repeated head impacts. It’s pretty convincing.

According to Daneshvar, the link between studies following soccer players and ALS first became apparent in the early 2000s. Recent studies have also shown a relationship between head injuries in a soccer player and his ALS.

A 2019 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that soccer players were four times more likely to die from motor neuron disease than non-player controls.

As for footballers, Daneshvar cites a paper he and several other scholars wrote, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2021. NFL players who made their debut between 1960 and 2019 were found to be four times more likely to die from ALS than members of the general population.

“The commonality between football players and soccer players is that they both get these non-concussion blows to the head — the kind that don’t cause symptoms, but they do happen hundreds of times a season. ,” he said.

“These are the hits that we believe are responsible for the neurodegenerative process,” he said.

A protein associated with the development of ALS called TDP-43 is found in the brains of patients who have had repeated head injuries, Daneshvar explained. It is thought that they may develop ALS.”

Daneshvar said there isn’t enough research on hockey players. It is hoped that research on athletes and groups will continue, such as victims of domestic violence who suffer from repeated heat strokes.

Tim Fleiszer, executive director of the Concussion Legacy Foundation, an organization that helps people, including athletes, affected by concussions and CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a fatal disease caused by repeated injuries to the brain). said it is. A former athlete has been diagnosed with a rare disease.

About 3,000 Canadians are living with ALS. According to his ALS Association of Canada, about 1,000 people die from the disease each year, and he is diagnosed in an additional 1,000.

Freiser, a former CFL player and multiple Gray Cup winner, said it was important to modify the sport to prevent these types of injuries, especially for children under the age of 14.

“By keeping children out of tackle football, hockey body checks, and soccer headers, the risk of these diseases progressing later in life can be greatly reduced. ,” He said.

Chris Nowinski, co-founder and CEO of the Concussion Legacy Foundation, former football player and WWE professional wrestler who has dealt with sports-related head injuries, said he and Fleiszer recently had a teammate suffer a head injury-related injury. He said he saw him die from the cause of The issue between ALS and head injuries needs to be taken more seriously.

“This is preventable and serves as a reminder that relative head impact is completely preventable in sport.”

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Following Börje Salming’s ALS diagnosis, experts say more research is needed on head injury risk.

Source link Following Börje Salming’s ALS diagnosis, experts say more research is needed on head injury risk.

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