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Medical News & Perspectives
April 17, 2013

Guideline: Tailor Appraisal of Concussion During Sports

JAMA. 2013;309(15):1577. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.3980

Use of traditional grading systems to evaluate the severity of a possible sport-related concussion should be eliminated in favor of more nuanced individualized assessment and follow-up care of injured athletes, according to an updated guideline from the American Academy of Neurology (Giza CC et al. Neurology. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e31828d57dd [published online March 18, 2013]).

The update recommends immediately removing from play athletes with suspected concussion and returning them to play only after they have been assessed by a licensed health care professional trained in concussion assessment and treatment. Following a concussion, the athlete's return to play should be gradual and only after all acute symptoms are gone. In addition, athletes of high school age and younger who experience a concussion should be managed more conservatively, as evidence suggests it takes them longer to recover than college athletes.