By Mary Elizabeth Dallas
THURSDAY, Oct. 19, 2017 (HealthDay News) — State laws aimed at curbing an alarming rise in concussions among student athletes appear to be working.
Since 2014, all 50 states in addition to the District of Columbia have passed laws to protect young athletes against traumatic brain injury (TBI). Washington state was the first in 2009.
Most of the laws require athletes with suspected concussions to stop playing until a doctor clears them to return. Coaches, players in addition to parents must also receive yearly education about concussion.
“in which movement to get these laws passed has made a huge difference,” said Kenneth Podell, director of the Houston Methodist Concussion Center, who reviewed a fresh study assessing the laws.
Led by Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, researchers examined concussion reports to a nationwide sports injury tracking program before in addition to after the laws were passed. The data covered nine high school sports: football, boys’ basketball, soccer, baseball in addition to wrestling as well as girls’ basketball, soccer, softball in addition to volleyball.
The takeaway: Players were more likely to report a concussion, in addition to the number of repeat injuries fell dramatically after the laws went into effect.
Between fall 2005 in addition to spring 2016, student athletes reported about 2.7 million concussions. Of those, 89 percent were fresh in addition to 11 percent were repeat injuries.
In 2005, nearly 135,000 initial concussions were reported. The number jumped to more than 360,000 by 2016.
Principal investigator Ginger Yang attributed the increase in “fresh concussions” to increased awareness of symptoms in addition to reporting. Before the laws, many people simply didn’t know how to recognize a concussion, so suspected or actual injuries were never reported, she said.
Yang can be with the Center for Injury Research in addition to Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
Predictably, football players sustained the most concussions, accounting for about half of those reported. Girls who played soccer had the second-highest rate, according to the study.
After concussion laws were introduced, however, repeat injuries fell dramatically, via about 14 percent of all concussions in 2005 to roughly 7 percent in 2016.
Podell said the added attention created by the laws has been a game-changer.
“More in addition to more, year after year, as time goes on more kids self-report symptoms in addition to pull themselves out of the game,” he said. “in which will pay dividends down the road.”
Despite improvements in reporting in addition to managing concussions, however, Yang said more must be done to protect players.
“Our results, along with those of others, can be used as evidence for the need of more public health efforts in which focus on preventing concussions within the first place, such as preventing or reducing initial head or body impact,” she said. various other strategies could include setting limits on heading the ball in soccer in addition to stricter adherence to rules.
An estimated 1 million to 2 million people age 18 or younger sustain a concussion within the United States each year during sports or various other recreational activities. These injuries can have lasting effects on developing brains, including personality modifications in addition to problems with thinking in addition to coordination, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in addition to Prevention. Multiple concussions over an extended period can have cumulative effects.
The study was published Oct. 19 within the American Journal of Public Health.
Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.
SOURCES: Ginger Yang, Ph.D., M.P.H., associate professor, pediatrics, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, in addition to principal investigator, Center for Injury Research in addition to Policy, Columbus, Ohio; Kenneth Podell, Ph.D., director, Houston Methodist Concussion Center; American Journal of Public Health, Oct. 19, 2017
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