Dr. Neha Raukar, assistant professor of emergency medicine, and colleagues working on behalf of the Institute of Medicine issued a national report Oct. 30 on concussions in youth sports. The report titled Sports-Related Concussions in Youth: Improving the Science, Changing the Culture summarizes what is known — and acknowledges how much is not known — in the scientific literature on the issue, ranging from the low degree of protection provided by equipment to the epidemiology of concussions across sports. The report also grapples with the culture of sports that can sometimes discourage players and coaches from reporting concussions and acknowledging their severity. “While some studies provide useful information, much remains unknown about the extent of concussions in youth; how to diagnose, manage, and prevent concussions; and the short- and long-term consequences of concussions as well as repetitive head impacts that do not result in concussion symptoms,” wrote Raukar and her 17 co-authors. “To help close data gaps, the committee calls for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to establish and oversee a national surveillance system to accurately determine the incidence of sports-related concussions, including those in youth ages 5 to 21.” The committee also recommended developing better metrics of concussion diagnosis, prognosis, and recovery; new efforts to infuse better awareness of concussion severity into the culture of sports; and studying the biomechanics of concussions in hopes of improving the inadequate protection afforded by equipment. Raukar is also a physician in the Lifespan health system.Read more