Guest Blog from Julian E. Bailes, MD
Department of Neurosurgery, NorthShore University HealthSystem
Co-Director, NorthShore Neurological Institute
Recently, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and National Research Council, with support from several other government agencies and private groups, issued a 306-page report entitled: “Sports-Related Concussions in Youth: Improving the Science, Changing the Culture.” This document reviews the known science of concussion in sports and military personnel, from elementary school through young adulthood.
While the report acknowledges the fact that there are still gaps in our knowledge, there is an apparent increase in concussion risk for high school as compared to collegiate athletes, concussions may be underreported, symptoms may linger longer than apparent, and the role of multiple concussions and long term consequences are important concepts which are still being understood. The report encourages continued injury surveillance, study, and improvement in protective equipment, changing the culture related to concussion in sports and the military, education, and strategies for clinical management of the injured athlete.
Preventing concussion, recognizing symptoms, seeking medical evaluation and following concussion guidelines are all essential for full recovery and the prevention of more serious effects. Certainly, we have made significant progress in gaining a better understanding about concussions, but given the knowledge gaps, there is clearly more that needs to be done.
The AANS, CNS and the AANS/CNS Joint Section on Neurotrauma and Critical Care, appreciate the efforts taken by the IOM and National Research Council and we encourage all neurosurgeons to become familiar the report. Neurosurgeons are committed to raising awareness about concussions so we can help to further scientific investigation and ensure the safety of the public.