Friday, April 30, 2010

Academic health (not just physical health) is important in concussion management

This is a great way to look at concussion management and how they affect the “student” athlete. (Big Ten medical staffs will examine concussion policies next week) Even though we are very careful to be correct in referring to athlete as a "student", are we also being careful in considering their “student status” when they are injured? The potential physical damage that comes from the mistreatment (misdiagnosis, inappropriate return-to-play, etc) can be very devastating. The academic side effects are also very important to consider. Injury to the brain can very easily alter an athlete’s academic career. College level academics are stressful and difficult enough for a healthy brain. There are papers to write, textbooks to read and exams to take. Injure the brain and these difficulties magnify. This means that academics must be considered in the treatment protocol. Realistically, only a small fraction of college athletes ever reach the professional and elite level. For this reason, academic health should have the same level of priority as physical health.

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