A study was just completed assessing concussion knowledge in high school football players. As you might expect, they have limited knowledge about concussions and tend to underreport symptoms. Forty-three percent said they had hidden a concussion to stay in the game, and 22% said they would do so in the future. Educating these athletes is a critical unmet need.
Research into sideline testing is ongoing, and there is a new test from the University of Pittsburgh. It involves the vestibulo-ocular system, responsible for integrating vision, balance, and movement. Still another research area in monitoring is helmet telemetry to determine the force and angle of impact for head hits. This will be useful if it is correlated with sideline test scores and symptoms.
There are guidelines as to when to return a concussed athlete to contact sports. There are none during the transition back into a classroom setting. This area is termed “return to learn” and is often overlooked.
Lastly, we know that professional football players have high risk of cognitive impairment. It is not clear if this is the case with high school or college athletes. More research is ongoing.
Dr. Jack Florin, MD
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