AAN Releases Statement on Sports-Related Concussion

Stresses that neurologist, other trained physician should be consulted before return to sport

MONDAY, Nov. 1 (HealthDay News) -- The American Academy of Neurology (AAN) has issued a position statement on sports-related concussion.

According to the AAN, sports are now second only to motor vehicle accidents as the leading cause of traumatic brain injury in people aged 15 to 24 years. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that three million concussions occur each year in the United States. The position statement stresses that, while the majority of concussions are self-limited injuries, "catastrophic results can occur" and the long-term effects of multiple concussions are not known.

The AAN issued five specific guidelines in the statement, which recommends that any athlete suspected of having a concussion should be removed from participation until he or she is seen by a physician trained in the evaluation and management of sports concussions, and that an athletic trainer should be present at all practices and games where a concussion might occur. The statement also stresses that a neurologist or physician with proper training should see the athletes for clearance before they return to sport participation, and that efforts to educate athletes, parents, and coaches about concussion should be maximized.

"Members of the AAN specialize in treating disorders of the brain and nervous system, and some members have particular interest and experience caring for athletes and are best qualified to develop and disseminate guidelines for managing athletes with sports-related concussion. Based on the clinical experience of these experts, the AAN supports the implementation of policy that supports [these] recommendations," the authors of the statement conclude.

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