Suppose your son or daughter has just been brought home from an athletic field with a concussion, complains of being tired and wants to go to sleep. Should you let that happen?
Chris Hummel, certified athletic trainer and clinical associate professor in Ithaca College’s Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences, is available to provide insights on concussion management, education and awareness.
“There was a time when it was considered life-threatening to let someone suffering from a concussion to fall asleep,” said Hummel. “But current research shows that sleeping is actually the best thing for a concussed player. Getting physical and mental rest helps an athlete recover from a concussion. But athletes should not be left alone the first night and should be seen by the sports medicine staff the next day.”
Concussion management, Hummel added, is very complicated and should only be undertaken by athletic trainers, sports medicine physicians and others with specialized concussion training. Still, it’s important for coaches, parents and athletes to know the difference between fact and fiction when applied to concussion basics.
The New York State Concussion Management Awareness Act requires a young athlete suspected of a concussion to stay off the field for at least 24 hours after symptoms have subsided. At least 30 other states have similar laws protecting the safety of students playing interscholastic and intramural sports. However, the New York State law does not apply to recreational sports outside public school activities; nor will it address when and how injured athletes should be cleared to return to the classroom.
“A significant benefit of the law is that it treats concussions as the serious injuries they are,” Hummel said. “One of the age-old myths commonly associated with concussions is that you can simply walk them off. If a student-athlete is suspected of having a concussion, assume it’s a concussion and have him or her evaluated by an athletic trainer or a physician trained in sports medicine.”
Hummel can speak to the benefits of the law, address its challenges, and provide insights into:
• Ways athletic trainers identify concussions.• How parents should be involved.• Creation of concussion management teams.
To speak with Hummel about concussions, contact Megan Christopher at [email protected] or 607-274-1440.