New guidelines could reduce the damage done by concussions.
Administrators for public school sports programs in Virginia's Fairfax County are applauding the National Athletic Trainers' Association's new guidelines for concussion injuries.
The guideline statement issued during meetings held this week updates the original concussion guidelines released in 2004. One of the most critical amendments, according to NATA officials, is a recommendation that no student athlete return to play on the day of a concussive injury. It adds that the injured player be evaluated by a doctor or athletic trainer.
Bill Curran, director of student activities and athletics for Fairfax County Public Schools, says the amendment helps ensure the safety of student athletes by encouraging coaches, parents and administrators to shift their response to sports injury.
"What is the value of pushing this or pushing that when you have a collision-based sport? What is the value of extended contact or repeated contact?" Curran said. "Are you really getting the return everyone needs out of it? Or are you just jeopardizing that student athlete and putting them in positions they shouldn't be in?"
Jim Thornton, president of the National Athletic Trainers' Association, agrees. "The culture of 'rub some dirt in it and get back in there' has to change. We know better now and we need to act appropriately."
The NATA claims sports-related concussions account for 58 percent of emergency-room visits by children 8 to 13 years old.