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District Summit Addresses Concussions Amongst Youth Athletes

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The National Athletic Trainers Association is hosting a summit in the District designed to reduce the rate of concussion-related and even fatal injuries in high school athletes.

More than 200 health care professionals, parent advocates and school administrators huddled at the Omni Shoreham in an effort to change the culture of high school sports. A recent study of high schools across the country revealed concussion accounted for nearly 15 percent of all secondary sports related injuries. Sudden cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death in young athletes.

"The reason some of our youngest athletes don't report concussions is because they don't know how to," says Chris Nowinski, founder of the Sports Legacy Institute. "They don t know what a concussion is or how to speak up, and right now we're not even trying to educate them."

Nowinski suggest that all schools employ certified athletic trainers with the medical knowlege to spot subtle signs of a growing injury often missed by physical trainers and coaches.

"If we're not providing athletic trainers to these athletes, we're leaving ove 80 percent of these concussions on the field, and letting them play through it cause we re not seeing them," Nowinski says.

Locally, the Fairfax County Public Schools employs 50 medically certified athletic trainers for all 25 high schools in its system.

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