Increase in Teenage Sports Concussions Prompts American Headache Society's New Focus on Awareness and Treatment

Increase in Teenage Sports Concussions Prompts American Headache Society's New Focus on Awareness and Treatment
Goal is to Increase Reporting of Dangerous Adolescent Brain Injuries to Healthcare Professionals
SCOTTSDALE, AZ (November 10, 2011) – In light of a nationwide increase in the number of concussions experienced by adolescents from sports-related brain injuries, the American Headache Society (AHS) is turning its attention to the issue in a seminar designed to raise awareness and teach neurologists and headache specialists to better recognize and treat concussion.
The seminar will be at 1 pm MST, November 10, 2011 at the AHS Scottsdale Symposium in Arizona for medical professionals who diagnose and treat headache.
[Note to editors: Presenters are available for interviews. Please see bottom of this release for more information.]
Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control show a 62% increase in the number of emergency room visits for brain injuries in children and teens between 2001 and 2009.  According to a recent article in The New York Times, 50 high school or younger football players have been killed or sustained serious head injuries on the field since 1997.
“Despite these skyrocketing and alarming statistics, this is a grossly underreported medical problem,” said David W. Dodick, MD, president of the AHS and a major researcher from the Mayo Clinic in sports concussion. Dr. Dodick said he believes that less than half of teens experiencing concussions actually report them.
The AHS seminar will include sports concussion experts including Dr. Dodick, plus Alan G. Finkel, MD, an expert on traumatic brain injury, and Kevin Guskeiwicz, PhD, both from the University of North Carolina; and Frank Conidi, MD, Director, Florida Center for Headache and Sports Neurology.
“Headache, especially persistent headache, is a primary symptom of traumatic brain injury,” Dr. Dodick said. “That means that it falls to athletic trainers, family doctors, neurologists, headache specialists and sports medicine experts to do a better job at diagnosing concussion and becoming leaders in the effort to keep injured young people off the playing fields after they sustain injury.”
Some of the increases in concussion data are the result of more participation in sports by young people, he said, “but the CDC also notes that more teens are being hurt in football, bicycling, basketball and soccer.”
“School sports organizations as well as the major national sports associations like the National Football League are extremely concerned about the growing number of concussions, but also about the dangerous practice of returning injured players prematurely to the field,” he said.
Medical evidence shows that athletes who return to play too soon are exposed to a greater risk of another concussion that may last longer and result in permanent neurological impairment including psychiatric disorders, dementia, stroke and rarely, death.
The American Headache Society® (AHS) is a professional society of health care providers dedicated to the study and treatment of headache and face pain. The Society's objectives are to promote the exchange of information and ideas concerning the causes and treatments of headache and related painful disorders. Educating physicians, health professionals and the public and encouraging scientific research are the primary functions of this organization. AHS activities include an annual scientific meeting, a comprehensive headache symposium, regional symposia for neurologists and family practice physicians, publication of the journal Headache and sponsorship of the AHS Committee for Headache Education (ACHE)
David W. Dodick, MD, President, American Headache Society; Professor of Neurology, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine
Alan G. Finkel, MD, Chair, Post-traumatic Headache Section, American Headache Society; Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina; Carolina Headache Institute
Frank Conidi, MD, Director, Florida Center for Headache and Sports Neurology; Assistant Clinical Professor of Neurology at Florida State University School of Medicine; team neurologist, Florida Panthers
Kevin Guskiewicz, Ph.D, Chair, Exercise Sports Sciences, Department of Family Medicine, University of North Carolina; 2011 MacArthur Foundation Fellow
 CONTACTS:    Joyce Yaeger  
            Joan Kaplan
            914- 282-7095





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