This week's best links from MomsTeam.com, a website devoted to health and safety issues in youth sports:
- Children and adolescents who undergo early surgical reconstruction after suffering a complete tear of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) have much better outcomes than those who delay surgery or never have surgery at all, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine. Reviewing data from six studies comparing operative to non-operative treatment and five studies comparing early to delayed reconstruction, researchers at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia found that patients in the non-operative or delayed group were 33 times more likely to have persistent instability in the injured knee than those whose ACL tears were treated surgically. In terms of return to play, they found that athletes who had early ACL reconstruction were 91.2 times more likely to return to activity at the athlete's previous level of play than those who did not have surgery, who also were much more likely (67 percent versus 4 percent) to subsequently suffer a tear of the medial meniscus. The study concluded that the data favor early ACL reconstruction, particularly for active young athletes who wish to maintain higher levels of physical activity.
- Strong communication skills are a fundamental component of raising a high-performing athletes and an essential part of keeping them in sports throughout their childhood and making them athletes for life, said John O'Sullivan, author of the new sports parenting book "Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High-Performing Athletes and Giving Youth Sports Back To Our Kids."
- With winter coming to many parts of the country, kids will be taking to hills and golf courses to go sledding. While sledding-related injuries are common among children and adolescents, many are preventable if common sense safety precautions, including the use of helmets, are taken, a study in the journal Pediatrics said.
- Four new scientific papers are adding to the growing number of researchers attempting to pour cold water on the now common assumption in the media and general population that contact sports cause CTE and CTE causes those with the disease to commit suicide. As MomsTeam's Senior Editor Lindsay Barton reported, all say that, until large-scale studies can be conducted, it is scientifically premature to rely on a small number of case studies of autopsies of former athletes to draw such conclusions.
- With increased interest in implementing baseline "preinjury" neurocognitive testing at the pre-high school level and in recreational and club sports have come concerns about their validity, a first-of-its-kind study of baseline testing among younger athletes suggests that such concerns might be justified. Examining the results of baseline testing for 502 youth athletes ages 10 to 18 years, researchers at the Sports Concussion Center of New Jersey (SCCNJ) found that athletes between the ages of 10 to 12 years old provided 2.5 times more invalid baseline scores than athletes ages 13 to 18, and, when tested in larger groups (10 per room), were more than four times more likely to deliver invalid baseline scores than their adolescent counterparts, regardless of the older athletes' testing environment.
-- MomsTeam.com and NFL Evolution