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Kevin Walter, MD, FAAP
AAP Updates Guidelines on Sport Related Concussions
Athletes often joke about “getting your bell rung” after taking a hit on the playing field, but adolescent concussions can cause serious long-term injury or death, and should always be taken seriously. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is publishing a new clinical report, “Sport-Related Concussion in Children and Adolescents,” in the September 2010 print issue of Pediatrics (published online Aug. 30). Young athletes are more susceptible to the effects of a concussion because their brains are still developing, and appropriate management is essential for reducing the risk of long-term complications. Although preventing all concussions is unlikely, there are several ways to reduce the risk, including protective gear (such as helmets and mouth guards), adhering to the rules of the sport, identifying athletes at risk, and educating parents, teachers, athletes, school administrators and trainers about the dangers of concussions. Football has the highest incidence of concussion, but girls have higher concussion rates than boys in similar sports. Better understanding of the symptoms and risk of long-term complications have prompted the following recommendations from the AAP:
Children or adolescents who sustain a concussion should always be evaluated by a physician and receive medical clearance before returning to play. After a concussion, all athletes should be restricted from physical activity until they are asymptomatic at rest and with exertion. Physical and cognitive exertion, such as homework, playing video games, using a computer or watching TV may worsen symptoms. Symptoms of a concussion usually resolve in 7 to 10 days, but some athletes may take weeks or months to fully recover. Neuropsychological testing can provide objective data to athletes and their families, but testing is just one step in the complete management of a sport-related concussion. There is no evidence proving the safety or efficacy of any medication in the treatment of a concussion. Retirement from contact sports should be considered for an athlete who has sustained multiple concussions, or who has suffered post-concussive symptoms for more than three months.
Dr. Kevin D. Walter, MD, FAAP Program Director, Pediatric & Adolescent Primary Care Sports Medicine; Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, comes on the show to discuss the AAP Updated Guidelines on Sport Related Concussions and to help parents, coaches and athletes learn the signs, symptoms and treatment for concussion.
Kevin D. Walter, MD, FAAP Program Director, Pediatric & Adolescent Primary Care Sports Medicine; Children's Hospital of Wisconsin Assistant Professor of Orthopedics; Medical College of Wisconsin Member, Children's Specialty Group Specialty: Non-Surgical Pediatric Orthopaedic Sports Medicine Dr. Walter joined the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery in 2007. In 2008, he became the program director of the Pediatric & Adolescent Sports Medicine program at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. Dr. Walter has been instrumental in the establishment and operation of the state's only Concussion Clinic for children and young adults at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin.
Dr. Walter obtained his bachelor degree in science from the University of Illinois in Champaign, and later earned his doctor of medicine degree from the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Chicago. He is board certified in Pediatrics and Primary Care Sports Medicine.
Dr. Walter is a member of many professional and honorary societies and holds multiple nationally appointed leadership and committee positions. He is a member of the Sports Medicine Advisory Committees for the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) and the National Federation of High School Athletic Associations (NFHS). He also provides sideline coverage of local sporting events. Dr. Walter’s clinical interests include concussion, back pain, performance arts, the throwing athlete and the young athlete.
Melanie Cole, M.S.
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