Treating And Preventing Concussions

No game is more important than a child's health. Photo Courtesy Chartis Insurance

In 2010, the NFL released new rules to prevent head injuries. These rules prohibited a player from launching himself off the ground and using his helmet to strike a player in a defenseless posture in the head or neck area. Play was to be stopped when a player lost his helmet.

The NFL also instituted more stringent return-to-play guidelines implemented for players who suffered concussions. Teams also had to consult with an independent neurologist whenever a head injury occurred.

Further measures announced in February 2011 required that new test rules be used by all teams before sending a player back to the field. A focused exam was incorporated so that the injury was immediately identified and athletes with head or spine injuries could be removed at once from play.

The Importance Of Baseline Testing

One of the most important changes in the diagnosis and treatment of concussions over the past few years has been the increased use of baseline cognitive testing for athletes. This allows tests to be conducted at the beginning of a particular sport season under the supervision of a parent, coach, or trained clinician. The time for such tests is generally under half an hour.

The results can then be compared to the same test that is repeated post-injury. The two results are compared to determine if there has been a concussion.

Taking The Best Care Of Youth Athletes

Coaches and parents need to enforce safety rules and the rules of each sport. If a parent sees a coach not following the rules, that person needs to speak up and not be worried about “butting in” or being pushy. His or her child’s safety is at risk, and no athletic scholarship or glory on the field is more important than that.

The parent also needs to explain to the child the importance of good sportsmanship during each game and practice.

If an injury is suspected, the child needs to sit out the game and be examined neurologically for a possible concussion. He or she should cease doing any type of activity that could cause the symptoms of a concussion to worsen. The child should return to the sport only after he or she is symptom-free.

Parents and coaches should be reminded that nothing, and I mean nothing, is more important than the health, welfare, and safety of their children–regardless of what sport they are playing.

Dr. William Spangler is the worldwide medical director for Travel Guard, a Chartis Company that provides travel medical, security, and travel assistance. He is the spokesperson and physician for Chartis’ aHead of the Game campaign, which seeks to inform the public about the dangers of concussions in youth sports. He also serves as the team emergency physician for the NFL’s Houston Texans. He is board-certified in emergency medicine, with 25 years of experience in this specialty. For more information, visit

Page 2 of 2 | Previous page

Related posts:

  1. Brock Pads Help Prevent Concussions
  2. Free Concussion Tests
  3. Brock Safety MVP Contest
  4. Concussion Study Results Available
  5. Heads Up

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


HTML tags are not allowed.

  • Columns
  • Departments