Reston Virginia sports injury and disability lawyer Doug Landau asks if too many kids are returning to the field too soon after a concussion

With his own daughter watching her final two high school games from the sidelines this Fall, sport injury lawyer Doug Landau wondered about other student athletes who return to the playing field before medically stable or physiologically ready. Too many kids may be returning to the playing field too soon after a concussion. “How many? According to an alarming new study, from 2005 to 2008, 41% of concussed athletes in 100 high schools across the U.S. returned to play too soon, under guidelines set out by the American Academy of Neurology. The 11-year-old guidelines say, for example, that if an athlete’s concussion symptoms, such as dizziness or nausea, last longer than 15 minutes, he should be benched until he’s been symptom-free for a week. The most startling data point–uncovered by the same researchers who in 2007 brought to light the fact that girls have a higher incidence of concussion than boys–is that 16% of high school football players who lost consciousness during a concussion returned to the field the same day.”

Time Magazine goes on to report “The consequences of going back early can be dire. Last September, a 16-year-old football player suffered a concussion during practice in Greenville, N.C. A certified athletic trainer educated in concussion management was not present, and the school’s first responder who examined the teenager cleared him to play in a game two days later. During that game, the student athlete was tackled. Moments later, he collapsed on the sidelines. He died the next day. A medical examiner determined the boy died from what is called second-impact syndrome, noting that “neither impact would have been sufficient to cause death in the absence of the other impact.” Reston Virginia sports injury and disability lawyer Doug Landau cautions that because of the danger from “second impact syndrome” to the brain, it is imperative that special care be exercised when there is loss of consciousness, dizziness and nausea from head trauma in sports.

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