Concussion Follow Up
Information on concussions in youth sports continues to emerge, and the conclusions show a lot of room for improvement.
This recent study assessed concussion management follow-through for patients who were seen in the ER at 3 weeks and 3 months. Their results are not encouraging. Many of the parents did not follow the return to play protocol, and many patients returned to their sport while still symptomatic. At 3 months, several patients still displayed symptoms.
There have been several conferences to determine the best method for return to play, and there are specific criteria to follow. The challenge has been disseminating that information to others: parents, athletes, coaches, administrators, other providers, etc. The result is that the knowledge is held in the hands of a few; many do not know what to do.
Several groups have been working diligently to educate the masses, and while they should be applauded for their efforts, it is clear that more is needed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Federation of State High School Associations provide free education for coaches to understand how to identify a concussion and what steps to follow afterwards.
These efforts need to continue at their current level and be expanded into other avenues. With so many youth and recreation sport leagues, there are many outlets for this education material. Coordinated efforts need to be undertaken to make sure that participants, coaches and administrators understand how to handle injuries of all types, especially concussions.
For those who work with leagues, this research should serve as an inspiration to expand your hard work and help ensure that participants get the care they need.