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Concussion Bill of Rights #5: Neuropsychological Testing for Athletes In Contact Sports

With several recent studies demonstrating the clinical value of neuropsychological (NP) testing in evaluating the cognitive effects of and recovery from sport-related concussions, such testing has become increasingly popular in recent years, with the 2008 Zurich consensus statement on sports concussions1 viewing NP testing as an "aid in the clinical decisionmaking process" and an "important component in any return to play protocol." 

Concussion Bill of Rights # 4: An Athletic Trainer Should Be On Staff

Among the things which increase the anxiety level of parents of children playing contact sports is the fact that many high school programs don't employ athletic trainers who have received training in recognizing the often subtle signs of a concussion. Only 42 percent of U.S. high schools, according to the National Athletic Trainers' Association, have access to an AT.* In some states, the number is much lower (Over three-quarters of Nebraska high schools, for instance, are without ATs).

Concussion Bill of Rights #3: Adoption and Enforcement of Conservative Evaluation & Return-to-Play Guidelines

The sad fact, and what makes it sometimes hard for parents to truly believe that programs are taking concussions seriously, is that many of the sports programs in which their children participate do not follow any set of return-to-play guidelines, and if they do follow guidelines, they are too liberal in terms of same-day return-to-play (RTP). When parents are kept in the dark like that, when they have no clue as to how a program treats concussions, their anxiety level naturally goes up.

Concussion Bill of Rights #2: Coaches Need To Be Part of Solution, Not the Problem

While there are many coaches who take concussions very seriously, there are still far too many in this country, from youth football, hockey, soccer, lacrosse or basketball all the way up the ladder to the professional level, who:

Concussion Right #1: Pre-Season Safety Meeting

The best way to ensure that athletes who suffer concussions playing sports have the best possible outcome in both the short and long term is to educate them and their parents about the importance of self-reporting and the parent's role in the critical return to play decision.

Team Approach to Concussions

In late April 2008, I attended the National Sports Concussion Summit in Marina Del Rey, California. It was indeed an honor to have been asked to participate in this conference and to be the keynote speaker to an audience filled with a veritable who's who in the world of concussions in sports.

Playing from the Same Playbook on Concussions

It is my belief that parents have a right to expect, when they entrust their children to a sports program - whether it be Pee Wee hockey, youth lacrosse, Olympic development soccer, or high school football - that it will take reasonable precautions to protect them against harm. In other words, parents have a right to expect that the entire team to whom they entrust their children's safety - including the national governing body for the child's sport, the state association, the athletic or club director, the athletic trainer (if there is one), and especially the coaches - are part of the concussion solution, not part of the problem.

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