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Call For Action: Report Stresses Need For More Research On Concussions In Youth Sports

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LUTHERVILLE, Md. (WJZ) — A national panel of experts is calling for action after taking a closer look at concussions in young athletes.

Monique Griego reports the report stresses the need for more research on concussions in youth sports and pushes for a national system to track them.

Trey Fearn, 15, struggled for months after suffering two concussions playing football and basketball.

“I’d get nauseous.  I’d get headaches,” said Fearn.

A new report from the Institute of Medicine says there’s a lot we don’t know about the impact concussions have on children.  The group is recommending a national system to track the problem.

Dr. Andrew Tucker from Union Memorial Sports Medicine agrees.

“Youth sports is where vast numbers of participants are,” Tucker said.

Tucker is also the Ravens’ team doctor.

“The concern is over head trauma over a lifespan could be a predictor or risk factor problem down the road,” he said.

Football, ice hockey, lacrosse, wrestling and soccer have the highest rate of concussions in boys.  For girls, it’s soccer, lacrosse and basketball.

The panel finds little evidence helmets prevent concussions.

“A helmet can block some of the force, but you can’t stop your head from moving,” said Dr. Christopher Giza, UCLA Pediatric Neurology and Concussions.

In addition to more research, the study says the culture of just toughing it out needs to change.

“We’re asking athletes to talk about their symptoms and tell us, which goes against every fiber of their being,” said Tucker.

Tucker says he’s already seen a small change in the culture, with more parents coming in to check their kids for concussions.

The study looked at athletes from 5 to 21 years old.

Doctors still recommend wearing helmets because they protect against other injuries.

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