Today’s NCAA Concussion Settlement was again recognition that mild traumatic brain injuries can potentially have long term effects. Further investigation involving base line testing, post concussive measures, and medical management will continue to be pursued in light of the NCAA’s settlement.
Public education, research, and best practice implementation in preventing more catastrophic injuries as well as cumulative chronic long term issues is necessary at all levels of competition in all sports.
It continues to be necessary to document baseline measures such as neurocognition, vision, balance, and previous injuries, and incorporate them into plans of care, and further track outcomes of the current management of concussion in not just the NCAA but all age groups.
The continued evolution of testing protocols including MRI DTI protocols, visual acuity and behavioral optometrics testing, neurocognition testing, and balance and coordination testing will go a long way to assisting athletes that have suffered concussions. Removal of affected players on the same day of injury without return and enforcement of a graduated return to play program after recovery will go a long way to avoiding the long term consequences of concussion.
Players must continue to under go baseline measures before the season in these aforementioned modalities, and then must be monitored over time after suffering a concussion, to determine changes in cognition, balance, vision, behavior, pain patterns, etc., so that long term pathology can be avoided and better treatment modalities developed for those already affected. Only then, will this settlement have a positive impact on the future.
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