Yesterday, the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council released an extensive report on sports-related concussions in children and teens that found helmets do not prevent concussions in youth athletes. The report, which was authored by a committee of experts, including the Center for Injury Research and Prevention’s (CIRP) Kristy Arbogast, PhD, and the University of Pennsylvania’s Susan S. Margulies, PhD, also found that despite increased awareness of concussions, there remains a culture “that resists both the self-reporting of concussions and compliance with appropriate concussion management plans.”
In a recent post on the CIRP blog, Dr. Arbogast writes that the answer to whether helmets prevent concussions is “no.” While helmets “have been proven effective at preventing skull fractures and more serious traumatic brain injuries and should continue to be used in competitive and recreational sports … the Committee found that research was needed to better understand the biomechanics of how pediatric concussions occur before any protective device can be scientifically proven to prevent them,” Dr. Arbogast notes.
Because of this, there must be a sea change in the way athletes and coaches approach concussions, she says. “There must be a shift in the culture of athletics — among parents, coaches, school personnel, and the youth athletes themselves — to treat concussion as an injury that requires serious attention, even if it means missing “the big game” or an entire season of play.”