NFL Health Update: Steelers president Rooney honored by JDRF

NFL HEALTH UPDATE -- APRIL 16, 2014

STEELERS PRESIDENT ART ROONEY II HONORED BY JDRF

Steelers President Art Rooney II was honored this week at the Western Pennsylvania Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) 2014 Rainbow Gala dinner for his dedication to helping those with Type 1 diabetes. The disease affects several of Mr. Rooney's family members.

"I have seen firsthand what diabetics have to deal with on a daily basis," said Rooney.

Former Steelers offensive lineman Kendall Simmons, who also has diabetes, presented the award to Mr. Rooney.

"It's great to be a part of something that is making a difference," said Rooney. "Hopefully we are getting closer to a cure, hopefully within our lifetime."

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STUDY FINDS MORE HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETES COMPLYING WITH CONCUSSION GUIDELINES

According to a study presented last week at the annual meeting of the American Society for Sports Medicine, high school athletes are complying more with recommended concussion return-to-play guidelines.

"In 2007 we had just above 50 percent of athletes noncompliant," said Dr. Mark Riederer, a clinical fellow in primary care sports medicine at Children's Hospital Colorado. "In 2012-2013, it looked like 20 percent. We think that's excellent."

The study tracked compliance from 2005 through 2013, using a database of high school sports-related injuries. Athletes were considered compliant if they waited to return to play six or more days after their symptoms resolved. The improvement of compliance can be traced to many factors, including increased awareness from parents, athletes, coaches and doctors of the importance of treating concussions, Reiderer said.

According to Riederer, compliance improvement also can be attributed to the increase of concussion return-to-play laws. All 50 states and the District of Columbia have youth concussion laws.

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DR. MARGOT PUTUKIAN: CAUTION IS THE RULE WHEN IDENTIFYING POTENTIAL CONCUSSIONS

Princeton University team physician Dr. Margot Putukian, who also serves on the NFL Head, Neck and Spine Committee, spoke with USA Football last week about concussions in youth athletes.

"Confusion is the 'hallmark' of concussion," said Putukian, who also serves on USA Football's Medical Advisory Committee. "A player may have other symptoms, but if he comes to the sideline and when you talk to him, he says, 'I got my bell rung' or 'I was out of it,' those are indications of a concussion," Putukian said.

She recommended that coaches and parents consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Heads Up curriculum, and urged all parties to err on the side of caution when symptoms of a concussion are present.

"We want coaches, parents and athletes to be vigilant and do the best they can. If there is any doubt or suspicion, it is important that if you have any concern that they see the athletic trainer or a sports medicine physician," she said. "You want that player evaluated by health care providers who have expertise in evaluating athletes and have expertise in looking for concussion, including athletic trainers and team physicians."

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-- NFL Communications

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