Concussion-Related Migraines Common Among Young Athletes

Migraine headaches associated with brain injury may be more common among young athletes than currently believed, according to the results of two recent studies.


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In the first, a survey of 74 high school football players, a third reported having a history of previous concussion and migraines. The second study of 25 children and adolescents with sports-related brain injuries found over two-thirds experienced symptoms characteristic of migraines.

Together, the two studies indicate that “”Clinicians must be aware of the various presentations of both primary headaches like migraine as well as post-concussive headaches so that a correct diagnosis can be made and effective treatment instituted,” the first paper’s author, Tad D. Seifert, MD, director of the Sports Concussion Program at Norton Healthcare and clinical assistant professor of neurology at the University of Kentucky, Louisville, told Medscape Medical News.

Dr Seifert, who also heads the Headache Task Force of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, added, “a comprehensive preseason evaluation that reviews personal headache history, family history of headache, and documentation of previous head trauma is imperative [in order] to aid medical staff in the diagnosis and management of future headache complaints.”

Lead author of the second paper, Devon A. Cohen, student at University of Miami School of Medicine, Florida, said, “Pediatric athletes suffering from posttraumatic headache following concussion experience significant disability and must be treated appropriately. This involves early intervention with an optimized treatment plan tailored to the patient and headache phenotype, in order to prevent progression to a chronic headache disorder. Patient education and implementation of a graded return to play are integral to the management of these patients.”

Both studies were presented at the American Headache Society (AHS) 57th Annual Scientific Meeting, and you can find out more details from the study at Medscape Medical News.

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