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ACSM In The News

ACSM is fortunate to be the go-to source on sports medicine and exercise science for several national and international media outlets. You can find some of our most recent coverage below, or you can view archived articles.  

ACSM Calls for National Policy Adoption for Concussion in Youth Sports

by User Not Found | Aug 01, 2011
ACSM, CDC and Brain Injury Association of Washington partner to advance legislative success

SEATTLE – A national guideline that young athletes suspected of sustaining a concussion or head injury in practice or games be removed from competition until examined or cleared by a medical professional is at the heart of a multi-organizational call-to-action announced today at the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) 56th Annual Meeting in Seattle. ACSM is collaborating with the Brain Injury Association of Washington (BIAWA) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to build national momentum on a new Washington state law protecting young athletes from death or disability caused by premature return to play following a concussion.

The Lystedt Law is named in honor of Zackery Lystedt, a Seattle-area young athlete who suffered a concussion in 2006 during a middle school football game. After returning to the same game, he later collapsed on the field. (See www.biawa.org for Lystedt’s story.) The legislation, according to ACSM and its partners, is the standard for a no-cost, highly protective model for national duplication.

In order to replicate the characteristics of the Lystedt Law that will protect young athletes in sports, ACSM says state legislation can work to require:

  • School districts to work with their state athletic associations to develop guidelines and informational forms to educate coaches, youth athletes and their parents of the nature and risk of concussion and head injury.
  • Information handouts to parents and players on the signs and symptoms of concussion; returned and signed by parents and youth athletes acknowledging the risk of concussion and head injuries prior to practice or competition.
  • Removal of a youth athlete who is suspected of or sustains a concussion or head injury from play. “When in doubt, sit them out.”
  • Written clearance prior to returning to play from a licensed health care provider for a youth athlete who has been removed from play.
  • Compliance from private, nonprofit youth sports associations with the policies adopted in that state.

“This simple policy – which doesn’t cost a thing for the state or any school district – will save lives,” said  Stanley A. Herring, M.D., FACSM, Chair of ACSM’s Clinical Sports Medicine Leadership committee and one of the physicians involved with Lystedt’s care. “It’s a win-win-win, for young athletes, for schools and for public health. The Lystedts have shown us all how one family can prevail over a devastating injury to affect change that has a real opportunity to save lives. This will do just that in Washington, and in every other state that recognizes its value.”

Concussions (mild traumatic brain injuries) are one of the most commonly reported injuries in children and adolescents who participate in sports, generally caused by a blow or motion to the head or body that causes the brain to move rapidly inside the skull. The CDC estimates more than three million concussions occur in the U.S. each year.

Further, concussions are a type of brain injury that have a range of severity and can have a multitude of symptoms. In Zackery Lystedt’s case, the severity of injury was likely aggravated by his continued play after his concussion.

“The Lystedt Law here lessens the risk that an athlete is running back onto the field with an undiagnosed brain or head injury, becoming all the more susceptible to a catastrophic injury,” said Richard Adler, President of the Brain Injury Association of Washington. “This bill is a landmark success in helping make youth sports safer and preventing preventable injuries.”

ACSM has a long history of advocating for concussion management, as well as establishing resources and partnerships to support treatment and prevention updates that help coaches and athletes avoid head injuries during play or competition.

In 2006, ACSM published Concussion (Mild Traumatic Brain Injury) and the Team Physician: A Consensus Statement, a guide to help team physicians diagnose and treat athletes with a concussion. The primer outlines best practices in identifying a mild traumatic brain injury; factors that should be considered in making return-to-play (RTP) decisions; the need for a game-day medical plan specific to concussions; the need for documentation, and more.

For more information on the Lystedt Law in Washington state, please visit www.biawa.org.

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The American College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. More than 35,000 international, national and regional members and certified professionals are dedicated to advancing and integrating scientific research to provide educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine. 

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