Sports-related concussions require careful assessment and treatment

September 1, 2010

The American Academy of Pediatrics in guidelines published August 30 in Pediatrics is urging coaches and sports organizations to better understand that a bump to the head is nothing to ignore.

The start of the school year means a return to sports for many children. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in guidelines published August 30 in Pediatrics is urging coaches and sports organizations to better understand that a bump to the head is nothing to ignore.

Between 2002 and 2006, 144,000 children were seen in emergency and outpatient departments for concussion. The majority of concussions happen among boys and are sports related, with football and ice hockey being the most common sports associated with concussion.

There has been an increasing focus on proper diagnosis and treatment of concussion over the last decade, but there is concern that in spite of the increased attention, many young athletes do not get the care they need. Improper treatment of concussion can lead to severe long-term cognitive and developmental problems, especially among young children.

All patients with concussion should rest, physically and mentally, and follow-up with a physician before returning to sports. However, it's reported that nearly a third of patients don't receive these instructions at discharge.