Health Planning Council Encourages Parents to Take Precautions Against Head Injuries Going Into New School Year

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As Youth-Related Concussions Continue to Rise, Study Continues to Make Change; Motivates New Legislation.

The topic of sports concussion is very important in our local clinical practices and is a priority for our local sports medicine community.

With the growing epidemic of youth related concussions, the Health Planning Council of Northeast Florida continues to bring community awareness to the issue as kids head back to school – and back to sports.

Studies show that over 300,000 head injuries are reported each year in the U.S., with 90% being reported as concussion.

The Health Planning Council of Northeast Florida's 2011 Utilization Study: ER and Hospital Admissions from Youth Sport-Related Concussions or Head Injuries continues to create real change in Northeast Florida communities. The study launched in 2010, and since then the Health Planning Council has collected data from the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA). Their preliminary findings began to paint a picture of incidence and prevalence of concussions in Northeast Florida.

“The topic of sports concussion is very important in our local clinical practices and is a priority for our local sports medicine community,” said Dawn Emerick, CEO of Health Planning Council. "As a result of the study and our recommendations, two independent community-wide Sports Concussion Task Forces were formed: the Northeast Florida Regional Sports Concussion Task Force and the Flagler Volusia Sports Concussion Task Force.”

She continued: “Florida's Youth Athlete Concussion Bill became law on July 1st with guidelines to educate coaches, officials, administrators, youth athletes and their parents or guardians about the risk of concussion and head injury; and bylaws that require head-injured youth athletes to be immediately removed from play and not allowed to return until they submit a written clearance by an appropriate health care practitioner.”

To avoid head injuries in youth sports, the Health Planning Council recommends:

  • Required Preseason Concussion and Brain Trauma Education of coaches, parents and youth athletes
  • All athletes should practice good sportsmanship at all times.
  • Use of the proper sports equipment, including personal protective equipment (such as helmets, padding, shin guards, and eye and mouth guards). And in order for equipment to protect the youth athlete, it must be:

> The right equipment for the game, position, or activity
> Worn correctly and fit well
> Used every time the youth athlete plays

About the Health Planning Council of Northeast Florida

The Mission of the Health Planning Council of Northeast Florida, Inc. is to develop regional, unbiased research and evidence-based initiatives that promote healthy communities, lifestyles and improve accessible, quality health care. http://www.hpcnef.org

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Liz Morgan

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