More than 1 million young and adult U.S. athletes suffer a concussion each year. Until now, no consistent standards existed to guide coaches and physicians in evaluating and treating sports-related brain injuries.
On March 18, 2013, the American Academy of Neurology released its first updated guidelines since 1997 for managing athletes with head injuries. Developed by researchers from UCLA and University of Michigan, the new recommendations are entirely science-based, resulting from four years of meticulous analysis of previous studies of sports-concussion patients.
Published March 18 in the online edition of Neurology®, the medical journal for the American Academy of Neurology, the new evidence-based guidelines have been endorsed by the National Football League Players Association, the Child Neurology Society, the National Association of Emergency Medical Service Physicians, the National Association of School Psychologists, the National Athletic Trainers Association and the Neurocritical Care Society.
“Our top piece of advice is that one size does not fit all,” explained co-lead author Dr. Christopher Giza, an associate professor of neurosurgery and pediatric neurology with the David Geffen School of Medicine and Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA. “Proper concussion management requires individualized assessment and treatment before making the decision to return an athlete to the game. There is no routine timeline for a safe return to play.”