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Browsing by Author "Dunkel, Elias"

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  • Dunkel, Elias (2016)
    Children and adolescents have a high rate of participation in organized sports and physical activities. Participation in contact sports has been shown to be related to an elevated risk of suffering a concussion, which makes the management of concussions in child and adolescent athletes an important public health concern. Most of the research on concussion has been conducted on adults and the management protocols of concussions in both adult and youth athletes is based on this research. In this thesis I aim to provide an overview of the common symptoms and consequences of sports-related concussions, the effect of recurring concussions, and the special concerns relating to sports-related concussions in child and adolescent athletes. Research suggests that despite significant overlap, clinical and neuropsychological symptoms of a concussion may resolve at a different rate. In addition, neurophysiological functions appear to be altered for a far longer period than either clinical or neuropsychological symptoms. This is a cause for concern, as return-to-play (RTP) policy of concussed athletes is often based on clinical symptoms alone. A conservative RTP policy should be considered especially in concussed child and adolescent athletes, as they seem to recover slower than adults. Supervision is essential in concussion management, as youth athletes are often unaware of previously sustained concussions, premature RTP may expose the athlete to an elevated risk of suffering a second injury, and recurring concussions have been shown to have accumulating effects on neurocognitive functions.