In late October, Philadelphia Eagles star running back Brian Westbrook suffered a concussion in a game against the Washington Redskins. He sat on the sidelines for two weeks, recovering but when he returned to play on Nov. 15 against the San Diego Chargers, Westbrook got yet another concussion, putting his season and his career in doubt. Westbrook 's immediate re-injury raises the question: should he have been playing at all? And just how many football players are returning to play too soon after concussions, or not having the seriousness of their injuries recognized?
On Dec. 3, in the wake of much debate over the long-term damage concussions do to players, the National Football League announced new rules governing concussion management. Players who 've had a concussion will now only be allowed to return to the field after being cleared by an independent neurologist.But concussion is not just an issue for the NFL. A study from the National Center for Injury Prevention found that 47% of high school football players say they suffer a concussion each season, with 37% of those reporting multiple concussions in a season. But according to the American College of Sports Medicine, some 85% of sports-related concussions go undiagnosed, and even when they are diagnosed, more often than not, concussions in football and other sports aren 't being managed properly. Guidelines from the American Academy of Neurology say that, for example, if an athlete 's symptoms after a concussion such as dizziness or nausea last longer than 15 minutes, he should be benched until he 's been symptom-free for a week. But a three-year study of play in 100 U.S. high schools found that nearly 41% of athletes were back on the field too soon.It 's pretty clear tha...
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...sually involved routine blocks and tackles, often along the line of scrimmage.
There are distinct differences in age when it comes to managing sport related concussions. Recent research demonstrates that high school athletes not only take longer to recover after a concussion when compared to collegiate or professional athletes, but they also may experience greater severity of symptoms and more neurological disturbances as measured by neuropsychological and postural stability tests. It is also estimated that 53% of high school athletes have sustained a concussion before participation in high school sports, and 36% of collegiate athletes have a history of multiple concussions. Because the frontal lobes of the human brain continue to develop until age 25, it is vital to manage youth concussions very conservatively to ensure optimal neurological development and outcomes.
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