Dr. Andrew Tucker: Hi! I am Dr. Andrew Tucker of Union Memorial Sports Medicine in MedStar Health and I would like to talk to you about, how to prevent concussions. Number one, would be simply using proper technique in the difference sports that they play, using the technique that they've been taught by their coaches will hopefully minimize or decrease the risk of concussion, whether, it'd be football or lacrosse or soccer or hockey.
Secondly, we want the young athletes to use the proper protective equipment and wear the equipment as it's intended to be worn. Probably the most important thing is for a young athlete to have an appreciation for the symptoms and signs of concussion and not to try to play through or ignore the symptoms in their sport.
The most important thing is early recognition and proper treatment. Both the coaches and the parents need to have some basic understanding of the common signs and symptoms of concussions and to communicate that to the young players, to be constantly vigilant about, these potential injuries on the field of play and to encourage the young athlete to report the symptoms to them or if they see these symptoms occurring in a friend or a buddy of theirs to please report these symptoms to a coach or parents, so that complications from this common injury can be minimized.
Sometimes athletes will sustain a number of concussions that are very mild that recover very quickly. On the other hand a young athlete may sustain a concussion and have symptoms for weeks to months and make us very nervous about returning them to any contact or collision sport. There are a number of potential ramifications of too many concussions.
Certainly, in the short term, problems with brain functioning whether, it'd be memory or thinking or concentrating and focus can affect, scholastic activities, school work as well as work in general. We are now becoming more aware of potential long-term complications of repetitive sports concussions.
There are small numbers of people that have been diagnosed with an entity called chronic traumatic encephalopathy in retired National Football League players, that indicate that changes in the brain probably due to a repetitive head injury throughout their course of their career, perhaps even starting in grade school and high school are having negative effects on brain functioning as that person moves on through adulthood.
The bottom line is each athlete in each concussion needs to be taken care of individually, one at a time in terms of determining whether it's appropriate to return that athlete and when it is appropriate to return that athlete to their sport.