Thursday, February 03, 2011
SCOTTSDALE, AZ — Neurologists from Mayo Clinic will be on hand at the Phoenix Coyotes game on Feb. 5 to help spread the word about safe play in youth sports, such as hockey, to avoid concussions.
For the past year, Mayo Clinic physicians have been working with officials from the National Hockey League, the American College of Sports Medicine and others to create stricter guidelines for play including eliminating head-checks from all levels of hockey.
It's a fact that among people 15-24 years old, sports are second only to motor vehicle accident as the leading cause of traumatic brain injury. Most sports-related concussions are never diagnosed because athletes may not recognize or report the symptoms of concussion.
Mayo Clinic physicians would also like to see proper and consistent training among sideline personnel to recognize the signs and symptoms of concussions. After a concussion, if an athlete continues to play or returns to play too early, there is an increased risk of experiencing another concussion. These repeat concussions may take longer to resolve, and come with a risk of permanent neurological damage, or rarely, death. Children, adolescents, and female athletes appear to be at a higher risk for concussions, and they may also take longer to recover.
"Knowing when an athlete can return to physical activity, competition, work, or school, is not always clear," said David Dodick, M.D., Mayo Clinic neurologist and President of the American Headache Society.
The American Academy of Neurology has recommended that not only should a certified athletic trainer be present at all sporting events and practices where athletes are at risk for concussion, but that following a concussion, an athlete should return to participation only after evaluation by a neurologist or physician with proper training.
"Because concussions can result in a variety of different symptoms, the diagnosis of concussion and assessment of severity may be challenging," Dr. Dodick added. "The optimal approach is a comprehensive evaluation by a multidisciplinary team of health professionals."
Mayo Clinic has donated more than 300 Coyotes tickets to youth hockey league participants in the Phoenix area to attend games on Feb. 5 and April 1. The Mayo Clinic neurologists will help pass out the tickets before each game and will be available to answer questions from the participants, coaches and parents.
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