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Tools Teach High School Coaches and Athletes How to Spot a Sports Concussion

The American Academy of Neurology, the leading group of neurologists dedicated to managing sports concussion, is issuing a call to all youth and high school coaches, athletes and parents to learn the signs of sports concussion and to know when a player must leave the game. The call to action is part of the Academy’s latest educational campaign, which includes new tools to reduce the estimated four million sports concussions experienced each year in the United States.

The Academy’s website now offers two free online safety courses created by the University of Michigan Neurosport program and endorsed by the American Academy of Neurology to help high school and youth coaches recognize the signs of concussion and what to do if a player gets a head injury during a game. Each 20-minute safety course is free and a printable certificate is available after passing the online quiz.

The Academy’s website also has free downloadable Coaches Cards on how to spot concussion and what to do if a player receives one. Coaches and players are encouraged to keep these cards with their athletic gear for easy access. Public service announcements will also air on radio stations nationwide.

“Coaches and parents need to understand the extreme care that is needed when returning younger athletes to the game who may have experienced a concussion,” said Jeffrey Kutcher, MD, chair of the American Academy of Neurology’s Sports Neurology Section and also director of the University of Michigan’s Neurosport program.

“Rushing this part of the process may lead to a serious setback or worsen the injury. If for any reason you suspect an athlete has a concussion, remove the athlete from play and be sure the athlete is carefully evaluated by a person trained in concussion management, such as a neurologist.”

Common Signs Coaches May Observe in Players:

  • Behavior or personality change
  • False/imagined memory
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Empty stare
  • Disorientation

Symptoms Athletes May Report:

  • Blurry vision
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling hazy, foggy, or groggy
  • Headache

In 2010, the American Academy of Neurology issued a new policy statement on managing concussions and is currently updating its guideline recommendations that define concussion grade levels.

News source: The American Academy of Neurology

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