CDC issues new guidelines for treating children's concussions

As fall sports ramp up, the Centers for Disease Control published its first guidelines to treat children’s concussions.

There are now 19 sets of recommendations that doctors, coaches and parents can use to make sure kids are treated correctly. Some parts of the guidelines totally go against routine practices of the past.

Continuing research is not just changing the way concussions are treated, it’s changing the way young peopled play and practice sports. One example is in soccer.

“They really don’t want kids younger than a certain age group heading the ball anymore because of repeated head trauma because of heading the ball,” said Ryan Longoria, FC Dallas athletic trainer.

Dr. Jana Brock is concussion specialist with Texas Health Sports Medicine. She most often treats young athletes in a variety of sports -- soccer, football volleyball, hockey.

“What was done whenever I was growing up is pretty much obsolete now,” Brock said. “The majority that I see happen to be 12 years old up to 18 years old… at least 90-95 percent of what I see are sports related concussions.”

The new CDC guidelines for treating kids’ concussions:

- Recommend against routine x-rays & blood tests

- Rest is still advised for the first few days after the concussion occurs, but inactivity after that may actually worsen symptoms

“We used to think absolute physical rest until you are without symptoms completely. Now the research is showing that after the first couple, three or four days, as long as your symptoms aren’t getting worse and worse we actually use physical activity as a treatment,” Brock said.

Sarah Gill is a trainer at a concussion center in Plano. she points out the new research should also give parents reassurance that most kids symptoms will clear up in one to three months.

“We have no reason to think that a kid cannot get back his baseline if he is just allowed the time to heal and then they can go back to their sport with very little fear, we think at this time, of having any long term problems,” Gill said.