In a statement released today the American Academy of Neurology made recommendations for dealing with and treating concussions. Here are the “Cliff’s Notes”
- An athlete suspected of suffering a concussion should be removed from competition until evaluated by a doctor trained in assessing and treating sports concussions. Symptoms like unconsciousness, unsteadiness, problems with memory or concentration, dizziness or headache are warning signs, Kutscher said.
- No athlete with symptoms should be allowed to take part in sports.
- After a concussion, a neurologist or another physician with proper training should be consulted before the athlete is allowed to return to sports.
- A certified athletic trainer should be present at all sporting events, including practices, where athletes are at risk for concussion.
In a story brought to us by Forbes, several MD’s were quoted in the story.
Dr. Jeff Kutscher, chair of the academy’s sports neurology section, said the academy’s current guidelines on managing concussions and when to return to play were written in 1997, and experience since then has shown they are inadequate. Experts hope to publish new guidelines by 2012, following a careful review of published studies, he said.
Dr. Kutscher also was keen on the certified athletic trainers being available for contact sports. He even went as far as suggesting that if schools/teams did not have access to one, they should consider not having the sports.
Certified athletic trainers now work at about 40 percent of the nation’s high schools and are rarely provided for athletes in younger grades, said Kevin Guskiewicz of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
It would be a struggle to find enough of them to cover high schools and also programs for younger athletes, he said.