“Asymptomatic”; Subjective but key to safety post concussion.

“Asymptomatic; is a state that concussed athletes need to demonstrate before they are accepted back to competitive play”, According to Dr. Alex Gometz, DPT, CIC, who discussed the issue with concerned  pediatricians at Park Avenue Pediatrics in NYC, last week. In order to prevent exposure to catastrophic injury, there should be a clear medical team agreement on the athlete safety before he is exposed to the possibility of another injury. There has been hundreds of examples of “concussions gone wrong”, on TV ads and YouTube videos in the past few years that has hit to close to home.

As echoed in a recent statement by the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM), an athlete with a concussion should not return to practice or competitive play until all symptoms have resolved. The statement was published in the January issue of the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine and headed by Dr. Kimberly Harmon, MD. The report provides an evidence-based, best practices summary to assist physicians with the evaluation and management of sports concussion.

To ensure safety, Dr. Gometz advises that the developing brain has to return to a pre-injury state of homeostasis demonstrated at rest during a thorough review with their pediatrician. Secondly athletes should follow a carefully tailored exertion-infused rehabilitation program by Concussion Management of New York. There is a proven period of increased vulnerability, post injury. No game is worth risking the catastrophic consequences of repeated trauma in a poor state of metabolic ability to sustain injury.

The state of concussions in the country has now alarmed the stablished sports dominant institutions but prompted government to investigate methods of standardization of assessment and treatment. Recently, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) has formed a committee to study sports-related concussion in youth from elementary school through young adulthood. The committee held its first meeting on January 7.

According to the IOM Web site, the committee will review the available literature on concussions, in the context of developmental neurobiology, in terms of their causes, relationships to hits to the head or body during sports, and the effectiveness of protective devices and equipment. You can read the full statement by the AMSSM here.