Jan 29, 2015
Analyzing Youth Concussions

The National Athletic Trainers’ Association and the NATA Research & Education Foundation have announced their participation and partial funding of the Consensus Study of Sports-related Concussions in Youth, which is being conducted by the Institute of Medicine. The 15-member IOM Committee on Sports-Related Concussion in Youth was recently formed to study concussions in youth, from elementary school through young adulthood, including military personnel and their dependents. The final statement is expected to be issued in December 2013.
“There has been continued public awareness, media attention and medical research dedicated to head-related injuries and the acute and chronic effects from concussion,” says NATA Foundation President Mark Hoffman, PhD, ATC. “NATA and the NATA Foundation are honored to be a part of this esteemed team of experts through our $50,000 sponsorship and our submission of names of secondary school colleagues and researchers who will serve as resources to the working group.” The NATA Foundation is the only non-governmental sponsor of the consensus study.

Tracey Covassin, PhD, ATC, associate professor at Michigan State University and a leading concussion researcher, will serve on the committee and as the voice of the athletic training profession. “I am delighted to be a part of such a distinguished panel of colleagues committed to sport-related concussion. It has long been an area of my primary research and I am confident that our collective findings will provide timely and critical information to better prevent, manage and treat this health condition.”

NATA president Jim Thornton, MA, ATC, CES, adds that “participating in this prestigious activity supports the profession’s commitment to ensuring the life-long health of athletes, which begins in youth sports. This sponsorship is a tangible example of our commitment to ensuring that all youth athletes have access to appropriate medical care and athletic trainers. This committee represents some of the best minds in health care and research.”

The committee will review current literature on concussions, their causes and the relationship of hits to the head during sport, effectiveness of protective devices and equipment, screening and diagnosis, prevention, management and treatment. Specific topics of interest include:

  • The short and longer-term effects of single and repetitive concussive and non-concussive head impacts on the brain.
  • Risk factors for sports concussion, post-concussive syndrome and chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
  • The spectrum of cognitive, affective and behavioral changes that can occur as a result of head injuries.
  • Physical and biological triggers and threshold for injury.
  • Hospital and non-hospital diagnostic tools.
  • Biomechanics of head injury and the effects of selected helmet designs.
  • The work of public health agencies, professional sports associations and state legislatures to promote awareness of the risks and consequences of concussive injury, return to play decisions and the increased use of neurological tests for diagnostic purposes.

The committee is comprised of members who have expertise in basic neuroscience; clinical expertise with head trauma in pediatric populations; neuropathology; sports medicine; cognitive and education psychology; bioengineering; youth sport organizational background; active duty military training or statistics analysis and evaluation. It will meet four times during the course of the study. Two public workshops will be held in conjunction with two of the meetings for information-gathering purposes. The committee’s draft report will undergo peer review before the formal consensus statement is produced.

Dates and agendas for future open sessions of the committee will be posted online at www.iom.edu/Activities/Children/YouthSportsConcussions.aspx. Visitors to the site are encouraged to click the “Sign Up Now” button on the right hand side of the page to join the project list serv.

For additional questions please contact: [email protected]. The IOM is part of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine.

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