The following information was graciously provided by Alpine Physical Therapy’s Jeff Morrison ATC, LAT.
In the past year, sport concussions have seen an increase in media attention, and rightly so. Every sporting association from Pop-Warner football to college and pro sports have revamped their concussion guidelines. It’s concerning, however, that youth sports still see players allowed to return to play after sustaining a concussion without proper clearance.
What is a concussion? A concussion is an injury that causes a disturbance in normal brain function.1 The terms “bell-ringer” and “ding” have been used in the past to describe what people thought to not be a concussion, yet it is now known that these so called dings can do just as much harm as a head injury resulting in loss of conciseness. This is because youth sport programs, unlike college and pro teams, don’t have a sports medicine team watching the players every step to determine the severity of a concussion. Concussions have been more prominent lately in all level of sport because of the increased level of awareness of the signs and symptoms of concussions and their consequences.
Youth sports are the most problematic sporting organization for concussions. This has to do with the lack of onsite qualified medical personnel such as Certified Athletic Trainers who are trained in the care and prevention of concussions. The prospect of having athletic trainers at every youth sporting event in the country is unrealistic. On the other hand if we educate every coach, parent, and the athletes to self-monitor and seek the proper medical advice for every known and unknown “bell-ringer” concussion seen, I feel we would ultimately see less traumatic head injures resulting in deaths in youth sports. One way we can educate these youth sport practitioners is to turn their attention to www.KnowConcussion.org. Know Concussion is a newsletter that covers the signs and symptoms, return to play criteria, and what to be on the lookout for in terms of concussions in youth sports. It is made available from Idaho State University and Caroline E. Faure, EdD; ATC an Assistant Professor in the Sport Science and PE department.
Know Concussion is a great resource for those who are looking to educate themselves or their organization about the need for heightened knowledge about concussion. Ultimately, concussions are nothing to toy with. No athlete who is suspected to have had a concussion should return to play without first obtaining clearance from a qualified medical professional. The best course of action is “When in doubt, sit them out.”
Special thanks to Caroline Faure and Idaho State University for all their hard work and for providing this information.
Brent Dodge is the founding owner of Alpine Physical Therapy and is a board certified orthopedic specialist. He holds additional certifications in Functional Dry Needling, Manual Physical Therapy, and Strength and Conditioning.
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