In response to increasing concerns about concussion in youth sports, the American Medical Association (AMA) announced policies designed to improve diagnosis, treatment, and health outcomes. Specifically, the AMA now recommends that young athletes with a suspected concussion should be removed immediately from the game and be permitted to return only with a doctor’s written approval.
In the “old days,” concussions were considered a normal and expected part of playing sports. Football, baseball, soccer, field hockey…check, check, check, and check. Play the sport, get your bell wrung. Now, we know better. Now we understand that a concussion is a form of traumatic brain injury, and the effects can potentially last a lifetime.
Concussions can cause headache, memory problems, difficulty learning, dizziness and imbalance, nausea, and number of other symptoms. In young people, whose brains are still forming, concussion can potentially cause permanent learning problems. It’s a wide-spread issue. According to the AMA, nearly 60% of middle-school girl soccer players report playing with a concussion, and fewer than half had been seen by a doctor.
This new recommendation is a welcome new policy. The big question is whether young athletes will understand how important it is to be honest about symptoms, and whether parents and coaches will allow athletes time to recover without pressure to return to play. Still, this is the best concussion news we’ve heard in a long time.
Thank you, AMA!