With all the recent news about concussions and hockey season well under way, I wanted to update you with the newest guidelines posted by the American Academy of Neurology (AAN). Thousands of hours of research were invested in putting together these guidelines which will hopefully help us diagnose and manage concussions more effectively. These guidelines also help us with the closer-to-home subject of children and concussions, which is a common source of questions from parents of young athletes.
1. As we already knew, football is number one in concussion risk followed by rugby, hockey and soccer. Girls are at higher risk and seem to sustain more concussions in basketball and soccer.
2. If your child has been diagnosed with one or more concussions, he or she is at higher risk for a second concussion.
3. There is no concussion proof helmet but helmets should be fitted appropriately and can prevent serious brain injury.
4. The first 10 days out are the most critical days for sustaining a second concussion if you go back to play too soon.
5. ANY ATHLETE SUSPECTED OF CONCUSSION SHOULD BE REMOVED FROM THE GAME UNTIL THEY ARE CLEARED BY A HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONAL. THEY SHOULD BE SYMPTOM FREE BEFORE RETURNING TO PLAY.
6. Total brain rest – do they need it? As long as the activities they are doing don’t aggravate symptoms they are OK.