Every year, over 90,000 American high school students suffer from sports related concussions. Some authorities have expressed concern over the lack of a national or state level regulatory system for how concussions – mild traumatic brain injuries – get handled by coaches, trainers, teachers, parents, and finally, medical personnel. Colorado ranks among the states without a statewide policy or set of protocols for preventing, diagnosing, and responding to student head injuries, an In Denver Times article reported.
Twenty-five percent of Colorado high schools have no policy about concussions. Of those that do, nearly 20 percent of them state that coaches and or parents have the final say about when the head injured child can return to the game. Doctors and medical officials think this is unacceptable. Even medical professionals have trouble diagnosing concussions. Those with no medical training might not have all the tools they need to make safe decisions regarding the health of their childrens’ brains.
The Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital released a study last year that showed that as much as 40 percent of athletes with concussions were returned to play too quickly, the article reported. ‘The study found that in the 2007-08 season alone, 15.8 percent of football players who sustained a concussion and lost consciousness returned to play the same day,’ In Denver Times noted.
Schools in Douglas County, CO have a well-rounded concussion policy in place and have been sharing their knowledge and experience with other Colorado coaches, trainers, and medical professionals. The head trainer for the Denver Broncos was in attendance at their latest seminar, the article continued. This year, the Colorado High School Association made a ruling, which requires a doctor’s approval before students with concussions can return to play.
Washington and Oregon passed laws last year that require all coaches to learn about the dangers of brain injuries and to remove players from the game who have sustained any kind of head injury. Recent studies indicate that a second concussion incurred while healing from the first can lead to death or serious long-term symptoms and complications. These study results have led to changes in athletic concussion policy from the NFL to youth football leagues all over the nation.
Jones, Rebecca. (April 5, 2010) ‘Concussions policy fuzzy for student athletes.’ Retrieved on April 6, 2010 from the In Denver Times Web site: http://www.indenvertimes.com/concussions-policy-fuzzy-for-student-athlet…