Childrens National Applauds IOM Report on Sports Concussions in Youth: Its Time for a Culture Change

Washington, DC (PRWEB) October 31, 2013

Childrens National Health System praised the new Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, Sports-Related Concussions in Youth, which urges a number of steps to fill existing knowledge gaps and to change the culture of youth sports regarding concussions. The report notes a rise in reported sports concussions in youth, perhaps due to greater awareness. It also notes the lack of comprehensive data on the incidence, diagnosis, management, and long-term health effects of sports-related concussions in youth.

The report was developed by an expert committee that included Joseph L. Wright, MD, MPH, Senior Vice President of the Child Health Advocacy Institute and an Emergency Medicine and Trauma Services physician at Childrens National.

The authors say they came to have a growing appreciation for the role of culture in the current recognition and management of concussions in young athletesone that can cause athletes to feel that they should jeopardize their own individual health as a sign of commitment to their teams.

Childrens National concussion and emergency medicine experts recommend that coaches, parents, young athletes, athletic associations, school nurses, and other medical professionals work together to improve recognition of concussions and to change the current culture of playing through a brain injury. They advise that children and teens take their time before returning to contact sports after a concussion.

The IOM report urges college and high school athletic associations to help address the cultural issues that actively or implicitly encourage young athletes to continue playing after a concussion.

To ensure that athletes younger than high school age are protected, I would also encourage the National Governing Bodies of Youth Sports to take active steps to develop, implement, and evaluate efforts to increase knowledge about concussions and to help change the rules and culture of youth sports, said Gerard Gioia, PhD, Neuropsychology Division Chief and Director of the Safe Concussion Outcome Recovery & Education (SCORE) Program at Childrens National, who provided expert testimony to the IOM committees deliberations. Taking brain injuries seriously in young athletes can help prevent more serious injuries or complications, so they can continue to participate in sports and to have long, healthy lives.

The Childrens National SCORE Program provides extensive education and training to parents, coaches, schools, athletic organizations and healthcare providers to better recognize signs of concussions and mild traumatic brain injuries, to coordinate and monitor treatment and to share safety information. The program offers smartphone/tablet applications to help youth coaches, parents, and healthcare professionals recognize and respond to concussions.

Contact: Emily Hartman or Caitlyn Camacho at 202-476-4500.

About Childrens National Health System

Childrens National Health System, based in Washington, DC, has been serving the nations children since 1870. Childrens Nationals hospital is Magnet

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