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Concussion Recognition & Evaluation

High School Football Playoffs: Not A Time For Concussion Safety To Take Back Seat To Winning


As the 2013 high school football season enters the home stretch, with teams fighting to stay alive in the playoffs, or preparing for traditional end-of-the-season games on Thanksgiving morning, the risk of concussion is an ever-present concern. 

Football player holding his head

But now is not the time to put winning ahead of safety.

Even in the best of times, studies show that high school football players face what one recently called a ‘culture of resistance' to reporting to sideline personnel that they are experiencing concussion symptoms.

As the 2013 high school football season enters the home stretch, with teams fighting to stay alive in the playoffs, or preparing for traditional end-of-the-season games on Thanksgiving morning, the risk of concussion is an ever-present concern. But now is not the time to put winning ahead of safety.

Baseline Neurocognitive Testing: Three New Studies Highlight Difficulty Of Obtaining Valid Results

The use of baseline and postconcussion computerized neurocognitive testing has become an increasingly common practice in the assessment and management of concussions at the college, high school, and even youth level. But, as three new studies show, obtaining baseline test results reflecting a valid assessment of an athlete's "true" baseline ability needed for comparison to postinjury performance is fraught with challenges.

New Concussion Report's Failure To Discuss Impact Monitoring Unfortunate Omission

The MomsTEAM staff and I are still digging into the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council's three-hundred-some-odd page report on sports-related concussions in youth sports,[1]  but one thing jumped out at me at my first pass: When I did a search in the report for a discussion of impact monitoring devices (a/k/a hit sensors), I found only one brief mention of sensors in the committee's recommendation that the Centers for Disease Control fund large scale data collection efforts for research purposes, including data from impact sensors.

Conspicuous by its absence from the new IOM/NRC report on concussions in youth sports was any mention of the use of real-time impact monitoring systems on the sports sideline. Unfortunately, the lack of any such discussion will just end up making it that much more difficult to get the message out that the benefits of real-time impact monitoring, and place an additional obstacle in the path to their use.

Baseline Neurocognitive Testing: Is It Really Necessary?

While computerized neuropsychological testing has become increasingly popular in concussion management in recent years, its use, particularly the need for baseline NP testing, remains controversial and, if anything, the trend appears to be away from recommending routine testing of all athletes, or even all athletes in contact or collision sports with a high risk of concussion.

'Culture of Resistance' for Self-Reporting Concussions, Study Finds

Young athletes in the U.S. face a "culture of resistance" to reporting when they might have a concussion and to complying with treatment plans, which could endanger their well-being, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council.

Concussion Identification and Removal from Play: It's All About the "Five E's"

To minimize the risk of delayed recovery from concussion, long-term injury, or, in rare instances, catastrophic injury or death, it is critical that athletes suspected of having sustained a concussion are removed from play as early as possible.  the chances that a concussion will be identified early on the sports sideline can be maximized by following a multi-pronged approach utilizing the "Five E's." 

PBS Stations Begin Airing "The Smartest Team: Making High School Football Safer"

The Brooke de Lench documentary, "The Smartest Team: Making High School Football Safer," will be broadcast on PBS affiliate stations across the country beginning September 17, 2013.

Sports-Related Concussions: Many Not Diagnosed, Says Study

Nearly a third of patients at two leading sports concussion clinics reported having previously suffered a concussion which went undiagnosed, says a new study, putting them at increased risk of longer recovery from concussion, the cumulative effects of concussive injury, and of second impact syndrome.

Coaches Can Play Important Role in Encouraging Athletes To Report Concussion Symptoms, Studies Find

A growing number of studies challenge the conventional wisdom that inadequate athlete concussion knowledge is the principal barrier to increased concussion symptom reporting.  Because educating youth about the dangers of concussion is unlikely to improve concussion reporting, they say other ways need to be found to increase reporting, among them being to enlist coaches to help create an environment where athletes feel safe in reporting.

NOCSAE and Helmet Sensors: An Ounce Of Prevention

There is still confusion about the recent position, or should I say positions, taken by NOCSAE over the past month, first deciding that the certification of any helmet with a third-party add-on would be viewed as automatically void, then, this past week, making a 180-degree U-turn and leaving it up to the helmet manufacturers to decide whether affixing impact sensors to the inside or outside of a helmet voided the certification.  Unless you read my article on NOCSAE's original decision and Lindsay Barton's this past week on its clarification, and perhaps even if you did, you are probably scratching your head and wondering what the heck is going on!

Well, I am scratching my head, too.

With all the controversy surrounding NOCSAE's recent rulings on the effect of third-party add-ons on helmet certification, what Brooke de Lench and others are wondering is why NOCSAE isn't asking the helmet manufacturers to explain to them and the rest of us how a 2-ounce piece of plastic stuck to a 4+ pound football helmet has them so worried?  Whether the NOCSAE rulings were intended to put the brakes on the market for helmet sensors to give the helmet manufacturers time to catch up, it is hard to see how it won't have exactly that effect, she says.
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