New head injury guidelines suggested to coaches

Doctors: Children with concussions need to rest immediately after injury

HOUSTON - The youth sports world has a few new suggested rules to follow when it comes to treating concussions.

When in doubt, pull them out. That's the crux of the new guidelines from the American Academy of Neurology regarding treating athletes who have taken a big blow to the head.

"You have one brain. That's it. That's all you're going to get," said Dr. Richard Figler of Cleveland Clinic.

The guidelines recommend coaches take players out of the game as soon as they think they may have suffered a concussion and that the player stay off the field until they've been examined by a health professional trained to treat concussions.

Neurologists said the brain can recover more quickly if an athlete rests immediately and is given time to heal.

"The kids that continue to increase their heart rate and get headaches during the course of the game, those are the brains that don't get better faster," Figler said.

Children and high-school-aged players should be treated more conservatively. The Academy found evidence that younger brains take longer to recover than those in college athletes.

"There's a very small percentage of these children that are going to the (MLB) or the NFL or the NBA," Figler said. "Be protective of their future, which is primarily going to be their brain function."

Experts said that protection likely won't come from a helmet, which is designed to prevent skull fractures, not concussions.

Symptoms of a concussion include ongoing headaches, fogginess, sensitivity to light and sound and changes in reaction time and balance.

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