When is it safe for an athlete to return to play after a concussion? Consensus reports summarized
Concussions are a common sports injury that can have long-term neurological consequences if not properly diagnosed and treated. Several new or updated guidelines for managing sports concussions were released earlier this year, and their key areas of consensus, including recommendations for return to play, are presented in an article in Journal of Neurotrauma.
Therese A. West, DNP and Donald W. Marion, MD, Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (Silver Spring, MD), compared three recent guidelines and highlighted the specific areas of agreement related to the definition of concussion, diagnosis, acute care of athletes suspected of having a concussion, and how to determine when a player should be allowed to resume an athletic activity.
The three sets of concussion recommendations reviewed in the Journal of Neurotrauma article "Current Recommendations for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Concussion in Sport: A Comparison of Three New Guidelines" include the position statement by the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine; the American Academy of Neurology's summary of evidence-based guidelines update; and the consensus statement derived from the 4th International Conference on Concussion in Sport, held in Zurich, Switzerland.
"This article by West and Marion should prove of immediate benefit to a broad range of health care professionals as well as those involved in the training and/or coaching of athletes participating in contact sports," says John T. Povlishock, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Neurotrauma and Professor, VCU Neuroscience Center, Medical College of Virginia, Richmond. "This consolidation of three recent clinical practice guidelines/position statements on the diagnosis, treatment, and management of concussion in sports constitutes a particularly important and timely effort that helps focus attention to those recommendations for which consensus exists. The narrative provided in this review is also directly supported by well-prepared appendices that allow a meaningful comparison of multiple factors across all three reports."
"From my perspective as Editor-in-Chief," continues Dr. Povlishock, "I believe that this document will be an important read for all involved in the field, benefitting the seasoned clinician-scientist as well as members of the sports community seeking to find the most updated perspective on current practice guidelines and position statements focusing on concussive brain injury."