Young Athletes at Risk for Concussions
Even with the known dangers, research suggests as many as 50 percent of child athlete concussions go undiagnosed or untreated--a dangerous number since, according to the AAP, a child who has had one concussion is 2 to 4 times more likely to have another. Because of this, the AAP has issued new guidelines to follow when dealing with a child athlete who has suffered a possible concussion
Children who sustain a concussion should not return to play until they receive medical clearance from a health care professional with experience in concussion management in young athletes.
Child athletes should not be returned to play on the same day of the concussion, even if they become asymptomatic.
All athletes should be restricted from physical activity and mental exertion until they are asymptomatic. Schools should work with the students to modify workloads to promote a quicker recovery and avoid exacerbation of their symptoms.
Neuropsychological testing should be used as one tool in the complete management of a sport-related concussion.
CT or MRI should be performed in the event of a suspected concussion.
Retirement from contact sports may be necessary for an athlete who has sustained multiple concussions, or who has suffered from prolonged post-concussive symptoms.
For more information on concussions among young athletes, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics.