Concussion studies confirm youth athletes need longer recovery

Last week's best of MomsTeam.com, a website devoted to health and safety issues in youth sports:

  • Concussions result in microscopic white matter and inflammatory changes to the brain, according to three new studies. Published on Feb. 3 in the Journal of Neurosurgery, the studies add to a growing body of research suggesting that concussions are not just a transient injury resulting in a temporary disruption of brain function, but appear to result in persistent structural and electrophysiological changes as well. MomsTeam Senior Health and Safety Editor Lindsay Barton reported researchers are saying they don't know yet whether the changes they saw using advanced imaging techniques will prove to be long term. They suggested that they should serve as a warning, if someone has a concussion, not to send them back to play right away, but to "give them the proper rest period they need."
  • The three new studies are consistent with an earlier study that found that structural abnormalities in children's brains persist in children and teens for months after mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) or concussion, even when symptoms have cleared and results on neurocognitive tests have returned to normal. As with one of the new Canadian studies, researchers at the Mind Research Network and University of New Mexico, used an advanced imaging technique known as diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), found that structural changes to the brain's white matter -- the long fibers that carry information from one area of the brain to another -- persisted in small group of children and teens four months after injury.
  • If you have been watching the Esquire Network's "Friday Night Tykes", MomsTeam's Brooke de Lench was happy to report that the latest episode didn't sink to a new low (although she admits to holding her breath, worried about what's to come as the teams ramp things up as they head towards the playoffs). Check out Brooke's weekly blog to learn about the "teachable moments" in this week's show.
  • A standardized process for conducting the pre-participation physical examination is needed to ensure a safe-playing environment for athletes and to help identify those conditions that may predispose an athlete to injury or sudden death, according to the National Athletic Trainers Association in a new position statement.
  • Don Hooton of the Taylor Hooton Foundation, a leading anti-steroid advocacy group, said that as surprising as the report's finding were, few parents recognize that steroid use now goes way beyond the athletic fields and extends to boys and girls who are resorting to these drugs out of an obsessive desire to look better -- to feel better about themselves.

-- MomsTeam.com and NFL Evolution

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