If the American Academy of Neurology had its way, there would be a certified athletic trainer present at every amateur athletic sporting event, including both games and practice. This recommendation was made on Monday in the journal Neurology and represents the official opinion of the largest professional neurologists association in the United States.
In addition to the above point, the academy recommended that athletes believed to have suffered a concussion be removed from the game or practice immediately. The also asked that a player in this situation be fully evaluated by a qualified physician before returning to play.
The concern surrounding concussions and the potential for serious brain injury extends through all age groups and levels. Both amateur athletes and professional players are being warned about the potential dangers associated with a sharp blow to the head.
In October, the National Football League (NFL) began cracking down on dangerous hits, such as helmet-to-helmet tackles, fining three players in one weekend.
As Melissa Healy reports for the Los Angeles Times, the concern over amateur athletes is especially great, due in large part to studies which have shown a dramatic increase in concussion-related emergency care for youth between 8 and 14 years old.
Whether the academy’s recommendations will be acted upon remains to be seen, but coaches, school board members, parents and others would do well to take a hard look at the dangers posed to young athletes.