NFL hosts concussion think tank with major athletic organizations

By Judy Battista, NFL Media reporter

NEW YORK -- Officials from nearly a dozen sports organizations from around the world -- including FIFA, the NFL and the NCAA -- gathered over the weekend at the NFL office for a think tank on concussion research and management.

Among the potential projects the group plans to pursue: randomized clinical trials to determine when it is safe to return a concussed athlete to activity. For now, doctors recommend complete rest and for players to be symptom free for a number of days before allowing the athlete to return to any action.

But a study, which could take two years and would be conducted with the support of the NFL, could help determine whether active rehabilitation -- allowing a player some degree of physical activity -- is better than no rehabilitation at all.

"We have no evidence that's the safest," said Dr. Rich Ellenbogen, the co-chair of the NFL's Head, Neck and Spine Committee, of the current return to play protocol. "What if active rehabilitation works better than no rehabilitation?"

Still undetermined is which athletes and which sports would be involved in that study. The group will also pursue research into enhanced sideline assessment techniques of concussions.

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