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Sports Concussion Management Recommendations Updated
Evidence indicates mouth guards, helmets may minimize injury, but not prevent serious trauma

FRIDAY, March 22 (HealthDay News) -- Recommendations for sports concussion and its management have been updated, according to a consensus statement published in the April issue of the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Paul McCroy, Ph.D., from the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health in Heidelberg, Australia, and colleagues reviewed and updated recommendations regarding sports concussion and its management following discussions at the fourth International Conference on Concussion in Sport, held in Zurich in November 2012.

The authors note that following a suspected diagnosis of concussion, players should be evaluated by health care providers and assessed using the Sports Concussion Assessment Tool V3 (SCAT3). A child SCAT3 has been developed to assess concussion for 5- to 12-year-olds, who report symptoms differently to adults. Neuropsychological testing is of clinical value and contributes to the evaluation of concussion. Concussion management is typically physical and cognitive rest followed by a graded program of exertion before return to play. A more conservative approach to return to play is recommended for children and adolescents. There is currently no clinical evidence showing the benefit of protective equipment for preventing concussion, although mouth guards prevent dental and orofacial injury. Helmets do provide protection in alpine sports and in sports where participants could fall on hard surfaces. Risk compensation must be considered with regards to the use of protective equipment, since this use may result in more dangerous playing technique.

"Identifying the needs, learning styles and preferred learning strategies of target audiences, coupled with evaluation, should be a piece of the overall concussion education puzzle to have an impact on enhancing knowledge and awareness," the authors write.

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