Study: Need for better concussion prevention in youth sports

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A new study suggests there is a need for better concussion prevention in youth sports.

Researchers at Hasbro Children’s Hospital found that more concussion related standards and protocols need to be written into law in order to raise compliance rates among youth sports groups.

“An estimated 7.7 million children and adolescents participate in organized sports each year and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that they sustain between 1.6 and 3.8 million sports-related concussions annually,” said Dina Morrissey, M.D., M.P.H., research associate for The Injury Prevention Center at Hasbro Children’s Hospital. “In response to this, the state of Rhode Island passed the School and Youth Programs Concussion Act (SYPCA) in July 2010. The law outlines both mandatory and recommended provisions in regard to managing student athletes with a suspected concussion. Our study assessed compliance with this law among Rhode Island high schools and community league organizations.”

According to Morrissey, only schools that belong to the Rhode Island Interscholastic League are mandated to follow the law. Non-member schools and community leagues are just recommended.

She says the 2-year study shows compliance in youth sports was high.

The study argues that more concussion standards and protocols should be written into law in order to make kids safer.

Morrissey says that research on concussions is constantly evolving. “There’s actually a new part of the law where now school nurses are required to do annual concussion training,” she said.

For parents or coaches who want to learn more, Morrissey says that education is the key and that everyone should always err on the side of caution.

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