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Neurologists urge new concussion policies

Nov. 1, 2010 at 10:26 PM   |   Comments

ST. PAUL, Minn., Nov. 1 (UPI) -- A U.S. doctors' group says any athlete suspected of having a concussion should be removed from a game until evaluation by a concussion-trained expert.

The American Academy of Neurology statement is targeted at policymakers with authority over determining procedures for when an athlete suffers from concussion while participating in a sporting activity, an AAN release said Monday.

"While the majority of concussions are self-limited injuries, catastrophic results can occur and we do not yet know the long-term effects of multiple concussions," Jeffrey Kutcher of the AAN's Sports Neurology Section said. "We owe it to athletes to advocate for policy measures that promote high quality, safe care for those participating in contact sports."

No athlete should be allowed to participate in sports if experiencing symptoms from a concussion, the AAN statement said, and a neurologist or physician with proper training should be consulted prior to clearing the athlete for return to participation.

"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 said.

Sports-related concussions occur in the United States 3 million times each year, and are second only to motor vehicle collisions as a leading cause of traumatic brain injury among people ages 15 to 24, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control says.

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