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Traumatic Brain Injury in Athletes: New Concepts, New Dilemmas


16 Jul 2014


James C. Puffer, M.D


Heightened awareness of the impact that mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) has on neurological health has led to important changes in the clinical management of head injury in athletes. While a clearer understanding of the basic science of MTBI has guided these changes, new questions have arisen regarding the long term effects of repeated MTBI, not the least of which is whether repeated injury leads to the development of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). In this talk, Dr Puffer will review the basic science of MTBI and relate the cascade of intracerebral events that result from head injury to the clinical manifestations seen in athletes. He will explore what is known about CTE and relate the limitations that currently exist in tying this entity to recent deaths of athletes who have suffered repeated head injury.


James C. Puffer, M.D. is the Senior Traveling Fellow for the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine 2014 Traveling Fellowship. He served for more than twenty years as the team physician for the UCLA Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and was the Founding Chief of the Division of Sports Medicine in the Department of Family Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He served as team physician to the 1984 United States Winter Olympic Team that competed in Sarajevo and was the head physician to the 1988 United States Summer Olympic Team that competed in Seoul. He received his medical degree from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA in 1976 and completed residency training in Family Medicine at the UCLA Center for the Health Sciences in 1979. He currently serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Board of Family Medicine in Lexington, Kentucky, USA and holds a voluntary faculty appointment as Professor of Family and Community Medicine in the College of Medicine at the University of Kentucky.

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