Friday, June 12, 2009

More on concussions

As a follow-up to this post, the NYT has this:


An international panel of neurologists, updating their recommendations on concussion care in the May issue of The British Journal of Sports Medicine, said that any athlete 18 or younger who was believed to have sustained a concussion during a game or practice should never be allowed to return to the playing field the same day. The group had previously said that such athletes could return if cleared by a doctor or certified athletic trainer
Other doctors, many of whom work the sidelines of high school athletic events, said they feared the effects of such strictness. They predicted that athletes would respond by hiding their injuries from coaches and trainers even more than they are already known to do, leaving them at risk for a second and more dangerous concussion.
Dr. Bob Sallis, a past president of the American College of Sports Medicine and a longtime sideline doctor in Southern California, said he saw the recommendation as a step backward. “More kids will be hurt seriously because of this, either by players not admitting they might have gotten a concussion or coaches encouraging them not to be up front about their symptoms, whether subtly or overtly,” Sallis said.
spotlights how some attempts to improve concussion-related safety can instead compromise it, a paradox encountered at levels as high as the N.F.L..
That's a very salient point.

The whole article is interesting, I don't want to steal its thunder by quoting too much of it. But this tidbit toward the end is particularly cool, about recovery from a concussion:
The panel also emphasized the importance of not just physical rest for players found to have a concussion, but cognitive rest as well. It said that teenagers should be kept from activities ranging from schoolwork to video games and text messaging while recovering from a concussion. “That is the No. 1 management issue in our clinic — how do we manage the cognitive activity that stresses that brain’s abnormal metabolism?” said Gerry Gioia, the chief of pediatric neuropsychology at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington. “Studying for an algebra exam, reading a lengthy text, sitting in a classroom for an hour and a half trying to keep notes and keep up — it extends recovery, it feels miserable to the kid, and it’s misunderstood by the school and public.”

1 comment:

  1. I have a hunch that most folks realize at the guy level that not enough is done to protect against brain trauma. The helmets that detect concussive force will help at the college level and beyond but at the high school it will still be up to overzealous coaches and 19 year old referees to play doctor.


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