Saturday, March 24, 2012

Return to Play: Concussions

NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 17:  In his second game bac...
NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 17: In his second game back from a concussion, Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins skates against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on March 17, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. The Penguins defeated the Devils 5-2. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)
So after searching for quite some time on information that I could use in my final paper about the effects of weight training for teenagers, and yielding too few results, I decided to change my subject. The subject besides weight training and wrestling that seems to be a prevalent part of my life, sadly is the long term effect of concussions. Now I am pretty much symptom free, with only a few residual after effects, but during the past year I have acquired quite an amount of information on this subject. Also I have found that their is much more information out there on the effects of concussions.
The first article that I stumbled upon was the development of the "return-to-play" protocol taken for athletes who have received a concussion and want to get back to competition. Now I have actually learned about this protocol in some of my classes, and it was quite interesting to read the study that was done in order for this protocol to be implemented. The main purpose of this programs development was to set some standard for as to when athletes should return to play in sports. Their are a number of different testing systems, but they all unfortunately diagnose concussions differently, making assessment and judging hard to perform and remember. What this program did was put the steps needed for checking for a concussion into an easy to remember mnemonic format. This was "CHSD," which stood for, Confusion, Headache, Sudden Loss of Consciousness, and Decreased Memory. This is combined with a three point grading system determining whether or not the individual can return to play, or be sent for an evaluation by a more qualified individual, most likely a hospital. Also as part of this program a return-to-play guideline was developed, where the individual would have to complete a set of six programs in order to return to play. If they were asymptomatic during the progression of these levels they would be able to return to play, but if any symptoms arose they would have to start at the beginning.
They are as follows:

Level 1 No activity
Level 2 Walking or stationary cycle
Level 3 Sport specific activity
Level 4 No contact practice
Level 5 Contact practice
Level 6 Return to play

What was discovered from the study performed implementing these protocols was that this system allowed athletic trainers, or the performer to easily make an assessment of an athlete as to whether a concussion had been received. This was found to be due to the easy to remember mnemonic system, which set a unified guideline for diagnosing a concussion.

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