American Academy of Neurology: Remove athletes with suspected concussions from play
The American Academy of Neurology has released a position statement calling for the removal of athletes who are suspected of having concussions from play until they are evaluated by physicians with training in the evaluation and management of sports concussion.
The position statement targets policymakers who determine the procedures that should be followed when an athlete suffers a concussion while participating in sports.
While the majority of concussions are self-limited issues, catastrophic results can occur and we do not yet know the long-term effects of multiple concussions, Jeffrey Kutcher, MD, MPH, chair of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) Sports Neurology Section, stated in a release. We owe it to athletes to advocate for policy measures that promote high quality, safe care for those participating in contact sports.
The position statement details that athlete should not be allowed to participate in sports if they are still experiencing symptoms from a concussion. It also notes that a neurologist or physician with proper training should be consulted prior to clearing athletes for return to participation.
The statement also recommends that a certified athletic trainer be present at all sporting events including practices where athletes are at risk for concussion. Furthermore, education efforts should be maximized to improve the understanding of sports concussion by all athletes, parents and coaches.
We need to make sure coaches, trainers and even parents are properly educated on this issue, and that the right steps have been taken before an athlete returns to the field, Kutcher stated in the release.
In 1997, the AAN published a guideline on the management of sports concussion that defines concussion grade levels and provides recommendations. According to the AAN, this guideline is being updated.