In the wake of studies and reports as to traumatic brain injury in professional football players, as well as repeated concussions in athletes, the nation’s oldest and largest youth football organization, Pop Warner, is updating its rules for participation after a head injury. As reported in this Friday’s New York Times Sports page,
Pop Warner will a note from a doctor before letting any player who has sustained a head injury back on the field. Requiring a doctor’s clearance before returning to athletic participation after head trauma will mean that a child has to at least get a medical opinion before resuming contact sports.
In addition to this new sports head injury rule, the national youth recreational sports organization is also taking action off the playing field. The Pop Warner organization also announced the creation of a national medical advisory board. I hope that this sports medicine advisory board will help track concussions and head trauma incidents and outcomes in young athletes so as to reduce the incidence of permanent and disabling brain injury. The chairman of this new national medical advisory board on youth head and brain injuries in recreational sport is Dr. Julian Bailes, who works with the N.F.L. Players Association on concussion-related issues. Dr. Bailes is also the chairman of neurosurgery at West Virginia University’s medical school.