This week's links from MomsTeam.com, a health and safety website for youth sports:
- As the 2013 high school football season enters its home stretch -- with teams fighting in the playoffs, or preparing for traditional end-of-the-season games -- the risk of concussion remains a concern. Even in the best of times, studies show that high school football players face what one recently called a "culture of resistance" to reporting to sideline personnel that they are experiencing concussion symptoms. Such concerns are only magnified at the end of the season, wrote MomsTeam's Brooke de Lench, but if there ever was a time not to put winning ahead of safety, de Lench says, it is now.
- The use of baseline and post-concussion computerized neurocognitive tests has become an increasingly common practice in the assessment and management of concussions at the professional, college, high school and even youth level. But, as three new studies -- including one examining the effect of sleep on baseline test results, and a first-of-its-kind study looking at testing of pre-high school athletes -- show, obtaining baseline test results reflecting a valid assessment of an athlete's "true" baseline ability needed for comparison to post-injury performance is fraught with challenges, according to Lindsay Barton, MomsTeam Senior Health & Safety Editor.
- A growing body of evidence suggests that females experience more severe symptoms and take longer to recover after mild traumatic brain injury such as concussions, but researchers have struggled to pinpoint why. A preliminary study by researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center posts a novel theory: that such gender differences may in part be caused by a sharp drop in hormone levels among females injured during the two weeks prior to their periods. Barton talked to top concussion researchers about the study's implications.
- In the latest in MomsTeam's series of "teachable moment" videos, Dr. William P. Meehan, III, Director of the Sports Concussion Clinic at Boston Children's Hospital, discussed returning to play after a sports-related concussion, including successful completion of a graduated exercise protocol, and how computerized neurocognitive test results, level of play and the athlete's age factor into the RTP decision.
- Almost every athlete has had muscle cramps at some point. From a hamstring pulls to the dreaded calf cramp in the middle of the night, muscle cramps can be very painful. Because they are so common, physical therapist Keith Cronin said it is important to understand how they can happen with everyday activities and in athletics, and that they there are a number of remedies to prevent and treat muscle cramps to reduce occurrence and intensity.
-- MomsTeam.com and NFL Evolution.com