In the past decade, few issues at the intersection of medicine and sports have had
as high a profile or have generated as much public interest as sports-related concussions.
In recent years there has been a growing awareness and understanding that all
concussions involve some level of injury to the brain and that athletes suspected of
having a concussion should be removed from play for further evaluation (CDC, 2013;
Halstead et al., 2010). Despite the increased attention, however, confusion and
controversy persist in many areas, from how to define a concussion and how multiple
concussions affect the vulnerability of athletes to future injury, to when it is safe for a
player to return to sports and the effectiveness of protective devices and other
interventions in reducing the incidence and severity of concussive injuries (Wilde et al.,
2012). Parents worry about choosing sports that are safe for their children to play, about
finding the equipment that can best protect their children, and about when, if a child does
receive a concussion, it will be safe for him or her to return to play or if it might be time
to quit a much-loved sport entirely.
It is within this context that the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and National
Research Council (NRC), in October 2012, convened the Committee on Sports-Related
Concussions in Youth to review the science of sports-related concussions in youth from
elementary school through young adulthood, including military personnel and their
dependents, and to prepare a report on that topic based on that review. The committee
was charged with reviewing the available literature on concussions within the context of
developmental neurobiology, specifically relating to the causes of concussions, their
relationship to impacts to the head or body during sports, the effectiveness of protective
devices and equipment, screening for and diagnosis of concussions, their treatment and
management, and their long-term consequences. Specific topics of interest included

  • the acute, subacute, and chronic effects of single and repetitive concussive and
    non-concussive head impacts on the brain;
  • risk factors for sports concussions, post-concussion syndrome, and chronic
    traumatic encephalopathy;
  • the spectrum of cognitive, affective, and behavioral alterations that can occur
    during acute, subacute, and chronic posttraumatic phases;
  • physical and biological triggers and thresholds for injury;
  • the effectiveness of equipment and sports regulations in preventing injury;
  • hospital- and non-hospital-based diagnostic tools; and
  • treatments for sports concussions.

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Source : The National Academies Press