Study calls for better data to help parents decide on kids' sports

A new study released by the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council calls for better data to help parents make informed decisions about their children participating in sports, the NFL announced Wednesday.

The report, which was supported by a $75,000 grant from the NFL Foundation, provides a broad examination of concussions in a variety of youth sports with athletes aged 5 to 21.

"The findings of our report justify the concerns about sports concussions in young people," said Robert Graham, chair of the committee and director of the national program office for Aligning Forces for Quality at George Washington University, Washington, D.C. "However, there are numerous areas in which we need more and better data. Until we have that information, we urge parents, schools, athletic departments, and the public to examine carefully what we do know, as with any decision regarding risk, so they can make more informed decisions about young athletes playing sports."

"We commend the IOM's recommendations and are proud to have supported the study," said Senior Vice President of Health and Safety Policy Jeff Miller. "We have been engaged on the key issues discussed in the report. It calls for more research into diagnosis and prognosis of concussion, longitudinal studies, and education programs to increase concussion awareness and understanding. We are investing in all of those areas and will continue to work in partnership with leading organizations on youth sports safety."

Among the study's findings:

  • "Very little research has evaluated the relationship between concussions and suicidal thoughts and behaviors. There currently are no data to evaluate this relationship because existing post-concussion symptom evaluations do not assess suicidal thoughts."
  • "Whether repetitive head impacts and multiple concussions sustained in youth lead to long-term neurodegenerative disease, such as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), remains unclear."
  • Concussion rates per 10,000 athletic exposures in college athletics according to the Datalys Center (2009-2013): field hockey (14.5%); wrestling (12.4%); men's ice hockey (8.2%); women's soccer (6.5%) and football (6.3%).

Click here to see the press release which includes a link to the study.

-- NFL Communications

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