Do kids return to the field too soon after a concussion and head injury ? Doug Landau has seen athletes knocked out, “knocked silly” and even his best friend bloodied when he ran from the pitcher’s mound for a pop up only to be struck in the skull by his catcher running into him with his mask still on ! Research reported February 2nd in Time Magazine indicates that younger, less developed brains are at greater risk of second-impact syndrome, which is why the new concussion study from the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, is so troubling. Submitted to a scientific journal for peer review, the yet-to-be-published study examined 1,308 concussion incidents reported by athletic trainers and found that in girls’ volleyball and boys’ basketball and baseball, more than half of concussed players returned to play too soon.
“These levels are way too high,” says Dawn Comstock, an Ohio State pediatrics professor and co-author of the new study. She cites several factors that are driving the numbers. Not enough high schools have certified trainers who know how to deal with concussions–just 42% do, according to the National Athletic Trainers’ Association. In some instances, over-competitive coaches, who are not required to be trained in concussion management, are pushing players back onto the field. And too often the players themselves are not reporting head trauma, brain injury, nausea or even dizziness, with team spirit giving them too much of a “warrior mentality.”