Just in time for the Sports Concussion Conference, the American Academy of Neurology, known as one of the leaders in managing sports concussions, has released a new position paper on how doctors should care for those who suffer one.
According to Medical News Today, the paper stresses that doctors have an ethical obligation to educate and protect athletes from sports concussions and only give an "all-clear" to play when medically ready. The paper also recommends educating parents about concussion recovery.
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Additionally, the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) proposes that doctors make the athlete’s health — both physical and mental — their number one interest.
"These strategies could help identify the threshold at which the number and severity of head injuries lead to irreversible brain injury,” said the paper's lead author Dr. Matthew Kirschen. “They may also help to clarify how concussion risk varies with factors like age, gender, puberty stage and ethnicity, so athletes and parents can make informed decisions about playing contact sports.”
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The document is "based on several years of research and analysis of ethical issues, which corresponds with the AAN's sports concussion guidelines," and has been published in Neurology.
"With nearly 4 million sports-related concussions in the US each year, it is imperative doctors are educated and protect these athletes who may have sustained a concussion," Krischen says. "Concussions can have devastating effects such as short-term impairments in athletes' cognitive and athletic performance. Repeat concussions have been linked to long-term impairments in brain function, such as problems with learning, memory and behavior."
According to Medical News Today, there are 1.6-3.8 million concussions that occur each year in the United States as a result of injury from sport. Concussions account for nearly 9 percent of all U.S. high school sports injuries.