What is Sports Neurology?
Sports neurology is a subspecialty of neurology that it is concerned with sports medicine issues including the study and management of sports related neurological injuries that may develop as a result of participation in athletic activities (with concussion being the best example). It also deals with the safe participation in sports and athletics by patients with neurological conditions, i.e. epilepsy and MS. Finally, the field looks at understanding the neurological benefit that occurs as a result of exercise, including the neurophysiology of peak performance in sport.
What is the history of Sports Neurology?
The filed has likely been around since ancient Greek and Roman times. Modern Sports Neurology dates back to 1768, with the publication by Percival Pott of sports related head trauma. It has only been during the last three decades that there has been a consolidated movement to develop the discipline of sports neurology. The 1989 publication of Sports Neurology by Jordan, Tsairis and Warren led to a much more public and academic recognition of this discipline. However, it is only more recently that neurologists have become more active participants in diagnosing and managing neurological injuries in sport and in fact Sports Neurology is the fastest growing subspecialty of Neurology and one of the major focuses of the American Academy of Neurology.
What is a Sports Neurologist?
A sports neurologist is a specially trained medical doctor who deals with athletes who have sustained neurological injuries that occur while playing sports. Sports related Concussion or mild traumatic brain injury is one of the most common and most widely publicized sports related injury. Other injuries include Stingers, Traumatic Brain Injury, Post traumatic migraine, peripheral nerve injuries, spinal cord injuries, heatstroke, and neurological sequel of rapid decompression in diving to name a few. Sports neurologists also deal with athletes who wish to participate in sports that may have an impact on previously established neurological conditions, including epilepsy, Stroke, neurodegenerative disorders, Multiple Sclerosis, Migraine and other headache conditions.
Why should I see a sports neurologist?
Most patients are referred to our clinic buy other physicians including family practice physicians, sports medicine physicians, pediatricians and orthopedic surgeons to name a few. These physicians do a wonderful job in managing many athletes with sports related neurological issues. However, often times patients become too complex and require more specialized care. Other patients, especially those with refractory and prolonged neurological issues such as sports related concussion will seek out the expertise of a sports neurologist on their own. Overall when dealing with issues relating to the central and peripheral nervous system it is essential that patients realize that it is the neurologist who is best trained and best qualified to treat athletes with neurological conditions, and are the forefront of addressing sports-related neurological issues.
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