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Concussions Require Individualized Approach to Diagnosis, Management

Thu, 12/13/2012 - 9:53am
American Medical Society for Sports Medicine

The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine releases its latest position statement, “Concussion in Sport,” which recommends healthcare professionals apply a more individualized approach in the diagnosis and care management of sports concussion, a traumatic head injury with a reported 3.8 million occurrences per year. This is because the severity of injury and the individual’s risk factors vary from athlete to athlete.

Kimberly Harmon, lead author and former AMSSM president, says there are a variety of tests physicians use to evaluate athletes with sports concussion; however, one of the most valuable factors is the physician’s close knowledge of the individual athlete. Harmon says, “It’s important that whoever works most regularly with the athlete reviews his or her treatment against the athlete’s history, behavior and risk factors to understand the best person-centered care plan.”

Furthermore, the statement analyzes the following regarding sports concussion:

• Pathophysiology
• Incidence
• Risk Factors
• Diagnosis
• Sideline Evaluation and Management
• Neuropsychological Testing
• Return to Class
• Return to Play
• Short-Term Risks of Premature Return to Play
• Long-Term Effects
• Disqualification from Sport
• Education
• Prevention
• Legislation
• Future Directions

Written by a team of 10 experts in the diagnosis and treatment of concussion, many of whom are team physicians, the statement was intended for sports medicine physicians who are specially trained to provide sports concussion care from the acute injury to return-to play. The AMSSM is also hopeful that this information can support other healthcare professionals as they care for patients with concussions.

Jonathan Drezner, contributing author, team Physician for the Univ. of Washington and the Seattle Seahawks, states, “There is increased awareness and visibility for sports-related concussion in athletes of all ages. This statement provides a scientific framework for the evaluation and management of concussion. Sports medicine physicians are uniquely positioned to help patients, parents and coaches understand and achieve a safe return to play.”

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