This week's best links from MomsTeam.com, a website devoted to health and safety issues in youth sports:
- High school football games played in rural Utah do not normally make news outside their local area, but, as youth sports expert and University of Missouri law professor Doug Abrams wrote in his monthly Youth Sports Heroes blog, a postgame bombshell that head coach and his staff dropped on their team in the locker room made national headlines for the unique way it challenged the players to clean up their off-the-field behavior.
- Young athletes in the U.S. face a "culture of resistance" to reporting when they might have a concussion and to complying with treatment plans, which could endanger their well-being, according to a report from the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council on the current state of concussion prevention and management in youth sports. The report said concussions in youth sports will become less of a concern only if, among other things, the youth sports community adopts the belief that concussions are serious injuries and institutes behaviors and adopt attitudes that emphasize care for players with concussions until they are fully recovered.
- Adolescent athletes with a history of multiple concussions perform just as well on brief computerized tests of neurocognitive function than those without such history, according to a new study of elite Canadian youth hockey players published in the Journal of Neurotrauma. However, those who a history of two or more concussions self-reported more concussion symptoms. As MomsTeam Senior Editor Lindsay Barton reported, the study's findings add to an already muddled picture about the effect of multiple concussions on adolescent athletes, consistent with some studies finding no lingering effect on neurocognitive functioning but increased symptoms, and at odds with others finding that athletes with a reported history of concussions perform significantly worse on tests of memory, visual processing and reaction time on a computerized neurocognitive test battery than those who reported no prior concussion.
- While the use of computerized neuropsychological testing has become increasingly popular in concussion management in recent years, it is not without its critics. Indeed, the new Institute of Medicine/National Research Council youth sports concussion report is just the latest in a series of concussion studies and management guidelines that questions the need for baseline testing. The findings are part of what appears to be a growing trend away from recommending routine testing of all athletes, even those playing contact or collision sports with a high risk of concussion.
- A growing body of evidence suggests that psychological factors play a critical role in determining whether an athlete makes a successful return to sport following injury, per Australian researchers in a meta-analysis of the literature published in the British Journal of Medicine. To maximize the chances of a successful return, the study recommended screening of athletes during the rehabilitation phase to identify those at risk of developing potentially maladaptive psychological responses to injury, and implementing strategies to address these issues, including measuring motivation, confidence and fear; involving the athlete in setting realistic performance expectations and a realistic date for a potential return to sports; and countering pressure athletes may feel they are under from coaches, teammates, and other significant individuals to return to sport before they are ready, which could lead to a premature return and increased risk of re-injury.
-- MomsTeam.com and NFLEvolution.com