Law Brings More Student Athletes To ER For Sports-Related Concussions

Dr. Pina Violano, RN, PhD Trauma Department, Yale-New Haven Hospital, Injury Free Coalition for Kids of New Haven Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital New Haven 06510, CTMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Pina Violano, RN, PhD

Trauma Department, Yale-New Haven Hospital,
Injury Free Coalition for Kids of New Haven
Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital
New Haven 06510, CT

MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Violano: In July of 2012, Connecticut became one of the first states to enact legislation to ensure the safety and appropriate evaluation and management of sports-related concussions (SRC) among High School students. SRCs are a common occurrence in high school sports with their diagnosis increasing over the last decade. While the exact reasons are not known, public health campaign efforts and education may have facilitated improvement in the evaluation and detection of sports-related concussions and may have contributed to increase awareness and treatment.

MedicalResearch: What are the main findings?

Dr. Violano: Evaluation of two emergency department records revealed a marked increase in the frequency of high school student athletes being treated for sports-related concussions after the implementation of Connecticut’s SRC law. This suggests that Connecticut’s legislation is effective in improving the evaluation and detection of sports-related concussions in high school students.

MedicalResearch: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Violano: State concussion laws are a safety net to ensure that student athletes are protected from further harm after sports-related concussions and require that they get the appropriate evaluation and treatment. While the current law pertains only to student athletes participating in Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) sponsored athletics, ALL athletes with a sports-related concussion who participate in organized sports at all levels could benefit from the same standard of care by healthcare professionals trained in the evaluation and management of concussions.

MedicalResearch: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Violano: Recommendations to expand the law to include youth level sports should be perused.

The numbers of youth athletes with sports-related concussions are presenting to the ED are increasing, but further expansion of the state laws to youth sports should be considered for future research. Our study showed that this legislation does not cause a residual increase in presentation of sports-related concussions to the ED in other age groups. We have identified that the law is not affecting summer sports-related concussion visits.

Changes to state concussion laws could include summer camps, travel teams and all-star teams to ensure that all children with sports-related concussions are getting appropriate care and education. Concussion laws mandating the removal of athletes with a head injury from play might be expanded to include all organized sports at all levels.

Citation:

The Effects of a State Concussion Law on the Frequency of Sport-Related Concussions as Seen in Two Emergency Departments

Thomas Trojian1*, Pina Violano23, Matthew Hall4 and Charles Duncan5

Injury Epidemiology 2015, 2:2  doi:10.1186/s40621-015-0034-7 Published February 2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Pina Violano, RN, PhD (2015). Law Brings More Student Athletes To ER For Sports-Related Concussions

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