Concussions and Youth Sports

If you’ve been around youth sports, as a parent, player or coach then you’ve seen the alarming statistics on the number of youth concussion each year — 3.8 million sports and recreation related concussions each year.

Today the Institute of Medicine has announced the creation of a new health panel to study the risk of concussions in youth sports.  Bloomberg News reports:

The risk of concussions from youth sports is being studied by a U.S. advisory medical panel as college and professional leagues have increased their scrutiny of potential sports-related brain injuries.

The Institute of Medicine has begun an investigation into concussions related to sports for players from elementary school age through young adulthood, the group said in a posting on its website. The panel will review risk factors, screening and diagnosis, as well as treatment and long-term consequences, it said in the statement. The Washington-based nonprofit organization provides advice to policy makers and the public.

Previous research has found that football is the deadliest sport among young athletes, and deaths may have been prevented if athletes with head injuries had been kept off the field, according to a 2011 study in the journal Pediatrics. A study published yesterday in the journal JAMA Neurology found physical abnormalities in the brains of former NFL players, when compared to peers.

The IOM panel said it will review available information on concussions, especially in the context of the maturing brain, and review the effectiveness of protective equipment.

The Centers for Disease Control’s “Heads Up” program provides a terrific website for coaches, players and parents to help prevent and diagnose potential concussions.

concussions_zack“There is no one tougher than my son. Sometimes players and parents wrongly believe that it shows strength and courage to play injured. Battling pain is glamorized. Zack couldn’t swallow or hold his head up. Strength is seeing Zack stand up out of his wheelchair and learning to talk again.” – Victor Lystedt, Zack’s Dad.

Read more survivor stories

 

Do you know the warning signs of a concussion?  If not, please take just a moment and find out on the CDC “Heads Up” website.

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