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Parents Ill-Informed About Kids' Concussion Risks
Date:6/16/2010

But most support strict head injury guidelines for school sports, survey shows

WEDNESDAY, June 16 (HealthDay News) -- Although parents support strict policies on concussions in school sports, the majority are unaware if their school has such a policy -- and most report widespread pressure to return young athletes to sports before they have fully healed.

These findings came from the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health, which surveyed parents of children ages 12 to 17 who play school sports. It found that nearly two-thirds of respondents are concerned their child will suffer a concussion but half don't know if their child's school has a concussion policy. In addition, more than one-third don't know about the dangers of repeat concussions.

Recent research has found that youth athletes are more likely than adults to sustain concussions and to take longer to recover. Children with such a head injury also run a greater risk of long-term neurologic damage if they sustain a second concussion while recovering from the first.

"Even though parents of youth athletes lack awareness about effects of repeat concussions, they demonstrate strong support for strategies to minimize the risk of concussion," Sarah J. Clark, associate director of the poll and a research assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Michigan, said in a university news release.

The poll found that most parents strongly support the following school requirements:

  • Athletes who've suffered a concussion must be evaluated and cleared by a doctor before they're allowed to return to sports (84 percent).
  • Coaches have to be educated about the risks of concussions (81 percent).
  • After a concussion, athletes must have a mandatory period of no participation in sports (71 percent).
  • Schools must have a certified trainer onsite for practices and games (67 percent).
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