Despite the increase in studies and media coverage, concussion continues to threaten the futures of young athletes and cause a great deal of concern among parents and practitioners. Questions continue regarding the management and return to play for injured adolescents and young adults, and regarding the long term consequences of repeated concussion in our youth. There appears to be a huge disparity between what health care professionals know and understand about concussion and what the average athlete and parent understands about what concussion is and the real risks involved. A review of current literature reveals a persistent lag between our knowledge and practice. This literature survey takes the athlete from the pre-participation sports physical, to the sidelines, to the doctor’s office, to return to play and provides a comprehensive assessment of current recommendations. There is a significant need, especially in urban areas, for education and access to cheap and simple baseline functional assessments of adolescents and young adults. We recommend athletes be assessed at their yearly physical in order to properly determine their baseline function and readiness to return to play after concussion. Additionally, we recommend providing anticipatory guidance and a simple concussion evaluation tool to be used by parents and guardians to also annually assess a young person’s baseline functional status and subsequent alterations. The goal of this review is to create an evidence-based, simple, cost-effective parental survey; increase awareness, understanding and diagnosis of concussion; and finally, expedited proper treatment and facilitate return to play.
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