Updated Guidelines for Treating Concussions in Youth

Updated Guidelines for Treating Concussions in Youth

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released new guidelines on how healthcare providers should treat children with concussion (mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI)). 19 new guidelines were published in JAMA Pediatrics: CDC Guideline on the Diagnosis and Management of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Among Children.

Among the list of new recommendations for treating pediatric mTBI, the CDC pediatric concussion guidelines include key actions healthcare providers should take:

  • Do not routinely image pediatric patients to diagnose mTBI.
  • Use validated, age-appropriate symptom scales to diagnose mTBI.
  • Assess for risk factors for prolonged recovery, including history of mTBI or other brain injury, severe symptom presentation immediately after the injury, and personal characteristics and family history (such as learning difficulties and family and social stressors).
  • Provide patients and their parents/caregivers with instructions on returning to activity customized to their symptoms after no more than 2-3 days of rest.

How to treat concussions and how a child heals from a concussion has been a large part of the discussion related to contact sports including youth football and soccer. Dr. Cynthia LaBella, Medical Director of the Institute for Sports Medicine at Lurie Children’s, stresses, “It’s important for parents and young athletes to know that concussions can happen in any sport or activity, but thankfully the overwhelming majority of folks who get concussions recover completely within a reasonable timeframe without any long-term or permanent deficits.”

According to Deb Houry, MD, MPH, director of CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, more than 800,000 children seek care for TBI in the U.S. each year. LaBella and her team at Lurie Children’s Institute for Sports Medicine regularly see patients who have experienced an mTBI. She shares, “Because no two concussions are the same, recovery and treatment will vary from person to person, so it is important to seek care from your pediatrician or pediatric sports medicine specialist for guidance with regard to how to gradually resume schoolwork and sports.”

With the release of these new evidenced-based guidelines from the CDC, physicians, parents and caregivers will be better equipped with information and tools to treat pediatric concussion patients, ensuring the best outcomes.

Learn more about Lurie Children’s Institute for Sports Medicine’s Pediatric Concussion Program. https://www.luriechildrens.org/en/specialties-conditions/pediatric-concussion/

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