Concussion management presents one of the more complex problems for an athletic trainer in everyday practice. Concussions can be difficult to identify and manage properly unless an athletic trainer and athletic department have the necessary resources.
In 2014 the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) published updated comprehensive guidelines for the management of sports concussion injuries.
This paper* contains 46 specific recommendations in the areas of:
A team approach to the assessment of concussion should be taken and include a variety of medical a specialists…a neuropsychologist should be identified as part of the sports medicine team for assisting athletes.
“The AT should work with the appropriate administrators to ensure that parents and coaches are educated on the following aspects of concussion: prevention, mechanism, recognition and referral, appropriate return to participation, physical and cognitive restrictions for concussed athletes, and ramiﬁcations of improper concussion management.” (#2)
“Athletes at high risk of concussion (eg, those in contact or collision sports) should undergo baseline examinations before the competitive season.” (#10)
“A new baseline examination should be completed annually for adolescent athletes, those with a recent concussion, and, when feasible, all athletes.” (#11)
“The baseline examination should consist of a clinical history (including any symptoms), physical and neurologic evaluations, measures of motor control (eg, balance), and neurocognitive function.” (#12)
“Young athletes with a past medical history that includes multiple concussions, a developmental disorder (eg, learning disabilities, attention-deﬁcit hyperactivity disorder), or a psychiatric disorder (eg, anxiety, depression) may beneﬁt from referral to a neuropsychologist to administer and interpret neurocognitive assessments and determine readiness to return to scholastic and athletic activities.” (#21)
“When working with children and adolescents, ATs should be aware that recovery may take longer than in adults and require a more prolonged Return-To-Play progression.” (#30)
“Pediatric athletes are undergoing continual brain and cognitive development and likely need more frequent updates to baseline assessments.” (#33)
“Athletic trainers should work with school administrators and teachers to include appropriate academic accommodations in the concussion-management plan.” (#34)
Broglio SP, Cantu RC, Gioia GA, Guskiewicz KM, Kutcher J, Palm M, Valovich McLeod TC; National Athletic Trainer’s Association. National Athletic Trainers’ Association position statement: management of sport concussion. Journal of Athletic Training. 2014 Mar-Apr;49(2):245-65. doi: 10.4085/1062-6050-49.1.07. Epub 2014 Mar 7.
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