What New Policies Can Protect Young Athletes From Concussions?
Earlier in June, the American Medical Association (AMA) adopted new policies that can help prevent long-term complications associated with sports-related concussions. Under the policies, the AMA will develop new methods for treating concussions by developing age-specific guidelines. The policy will also recommend guidelines for recognizing and treating concussions in athletes.
Concussions have become a widespread risk for young athletes. Centers for Disease Control statistics estimate that between 1.6 million and 3.8 million sports-related concussions occur annually in the U.S. The new policy would require young athletes suspected of having a concussion to be removed from the game and given immediate medical attention.
Unfortunately, research has shown that football players and other athletes continue to play even after receiving concussions. In a small study carried out by an emergency medicine physician at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, it was found that 53 percent of young athletes said they would continue to play after receiving a concussion.
How Dangerous Are Concussions For Young Athletes?
Athletes who continue to play after receiving a concussion are at risk for permanent brain damage or second-impact syndrome, a potentially fatal condition.
In addition to fatal consequences, multiple concussions can cause lasting health complications for young athletes, such as behavioral changes and cognitive problems. Young athletes who receive multiple concussions are at risk for developing chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) later in life. CTE is a brain disease that can lead to early-onset dementia.
Brain injuries can have serious consequences for children and teenagers. It is important to develop policies that can help protect young athletes from a lifetime of disability or death.
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