November 5, 2010
No Clearance, No Play: Athletes with Concussions Sidelined
(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- If it were left up to the American Academy of Neurology (AAN), there'd be no more "Ëtaking it for the team' or "Ëshaking it off' for athletes taking the tough blows.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, three million sports-related concussions occur in the United States every year. Concussions are now second only to car crashes as a leading cause of traumatic brain injury for young people between the ages of 15 and 24.
The AAN is actively calling for any athlete who is suspected of having a concussion to be removed from play until the athlete is evaluated by a physician with training in the evaluation and management of sports concussions.
"While the majority of concussion are self-limited injuries, catastrophic results can occur and we do not yet know the long-term effects of multiple concussions," Jeffrey Kutcher, M.D., MPH, chair of the AAN's Sports Neurology Section, was quoted as saying. "We owe it to athletes to advocate for policy measures that promote high quality, safe care for those participating in contact sports."
The request is one of five recommendations from a new position statement approved by the AAN's Board of Directors that targets policymakers with authority over determining the policy procedure for when an athlete suffers from a concussion while participating in a sporting activity.
According to the new AAN position statement, no athlete should be allowed to participate in sports if he or she is still experiencing symptoms from a concussion, and a neurologist or physician with proper training should be consulted prior to clearing the athlete for return to participation.
In addition, the AAN recommends a certified athletic trainer be present at all sporting events, including practices, where athletes are at risk for concussions.
Education efforts should also be maximized to improving the understanding of concussions by all athletes, parents and coaches.
"We need to make sure coaches, trainers, and even parents, are properly educated on this issue, and that the right steps have been taken before an athlete return to the field," Dr. Kutcher said.
SOURCE: The American Academy of Neurology