1. Concussions are SERIOUS, but if managed properly there is usually no need for long term concern. The issues with encephalopathy are real, but rare, and typically because of repeated and poorly managed injuries!
2. No one would send their kid to the rink or field without a helmet...so why are we sending them without having a solid concussion protocol in place? This MUST include baseline testing, honesty on the part of the athlete, and recognition by coaching staff.
3. "We’re missing a huge amount of minor concussions that most of the time will, by luck, resolve without consequences, but a few of those are those kids who will get a second hit that will constitute a very bad episode of concussion that could have been prevented by early detection." - Dr. Pierre Fremont, Canadian Concussion Collaborative
4. These kids need assessment by EXPERIENCED concussion experts, not bench trainers, parents, or even at times their family doctor (not all MDs have experience treating concussions, actually very few do).
5. Don't let emotions make return to play decisions! Even if it's the last game of the tournament, and you're the top goal scorer, if the brain is injured you need to be taken off!!
Those who know me are well aware of my push for baseline testing. I see dozens of concussion patients every week, and the number of those who came in with baseline tests are unfortunately low. Very low. What difference does that make? Looking back at my last month in the clinic, those who had a baseline test were returned to play approximately twice as fast as those who did not. Sure there's the severity issue, or length of time it took them to finally get assessed (in some cases 30 years!), but when I know what your "normal" levels should be there's less guess work. It takes time to fully assess what level of functioning is considered normal - there are many people who struggle with short term memory on a good day!
Let your kids compete! Let them have fun! Keep them active (and away from those damn video games)! We are going to end up with a society of overweight, lazy, whiney teenagers who have no sense of respect, teamwork, sportsmanship or disappointment. There are risks with everything we do - you can't bubble wrap everything. But if something does happen, get it looked after! Find someone who has experience in managing the injury and move on from it! At the end of the day, our kids are going to need to find jobs and no matter what that job is - "you're going to need a brain for that!"