This week’s top stories from MomsTeam.com, a health and safety site focusing on youth sports:
* A significant number of concussed student-athletes may be cleared to return to play despite being cognitively impaired, finds an important new study in the journal Brain Injury. Of concussed student-athletes who reported no symptoms and had returned to baseline on computerized neurocognitive tests taken before beginning a graduated return to sports protocol, researchers found that more than a quarter (27.7 percent) exhibited declines in verbal and visual memory on the tests following moderate exercise. The results prompted the study author to recommends adding post-exertion computerized neurocognitive testing to the current return-to-play protocol.
* The Youth Sports Safety Alliance, composed of more than 100 organizations committed to keeping young athletes safe, has launched its first-ever “National Action Plan for Sports Safety” to ensure comprehensive action to protect America’s student-athletes. Alliance member and MomsTEAM Founder and Publisher Brooke de Lench lists provides an annotated list of the recommendations.
* Top-selling energy drinks contain high, unregulated amounts of caffeine, as well as other stimulants which can enhance the effects of caffeine and produce harmful health effects in adolescents, warns a group of Navy, Army and Air Force doctors in the journal Pediatrics in Review. Reviewing current information about the content, benefits, and risks of the use of energy drinks by teens, the doctors expressed “great concern” over the safety and negative effects of energy drinks, given their high caffeine content and the common practice on college campuses (and most likely at the high school level as well) of mixing energy drinks with alcohol.
* In light of a growing body of evidence which suggests that brain trauma to football players can result, not just from violent helmet-on-helmet collisions hard enough to lead to concussions but from the cumulative effect of less forceful, but repetitive, subconcussive blows, and efforts by the National Football League, the Ivy League, and Pop Warner to limit full-contact practices in order to reduce total brain trauma, proposals to limit such contact at the high school level appear to be gathering steam. MomsTEAM’s Brooke de Lench says it’s about time.
* In 2012, the National Federation of State High School Associations put in place a rule requiring a football player whose helmet came off during play to sit out at least one play. For 2013, the NFHS has adopted three more rules to protect helmet-less players, including making it a personal foul for a player to initiate contact with a player whose helmet has come off. Given the number of times helmets came flying off during the Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans last Sunday, similar rule changes in the NFL may be next.
– MomsTeam.com and NFLEvolution.com