Study raises new concerns about concussions in young athletes

Posted at: 11/03/2013 10:27 PM
By: Maria Guerrero, KOB Eyewitness News 4

A new study finds young athletes are hesitant to report concussions.

It also finds there is no evidence that protective gear reduces concussions, although some gear has been advertised that way.

The study comes from the Institute of Medicine.

It says there is reason for concern about sports and young people.

And it urges parents, schools and athletic departments to really think about the risks, some of which are not known at this time.

Local YAFL players competed in championship games Sunday at Community Stadium.

Curtis Vann kept his eyes on #32, his son C.J.

"I call him the hit man,” said Vann. “Actually his name was The Tank when he first started."

C.J. plays center.

"He's taken a few good shots. I mean, he's given a lot of good shots,” he said.

A study finds there is not enough research about the risks that come with those hits.

The Institute of Medicine found concussion rates are more frequent among high school athletes playing football, soccer, baseball and lacrosse.

"Our goal is to make American Football the safest sport on the planet," said Dan Wilkinson who was appointed to lead the Heads Up Tackle Program for YAFL.

Wilkinson says the key to winning against concussions, lies with the Heads Up program, which in part, teaches players how to tackle properly.

The study’s national committee suggests creating a national database to track the number of concussions.

Wilkinson says here is the problem:

"Because of HIPA anybody who's under the age of 18 is hard to get good empirical information about when a kid is hurt.”

The committee also found little evidence that the current design of football helmets helps reduce the risk of concussions.

YAFL says they replace their helmets every two to three years.

And they add that protecting young athletes is a team effort.

For more information on the subject of concussions in youth sports click here