With how much we’re finding out about traumatic brain injury all the time, including newly discovered links to chronic traumatic encephalopathy, also known as CTE, it was only a matter of time before the experts on brain injury would release new guidelines for treating and managing brain injury.
An international panel of experts released an updated consensus statement on TBI aimed at updating doctors, sports health professionals, and other health-care providers on the best way to diagnose a concussion and manage a patient’s recovery over time.
“Concussion is one of the most complex injuries to diagnose and treat, and our understanding of concussion is constantly evolving,” said panel co-chair Dr. Willem Meeuwisse, leader of the University of Calgary’s Brain Injury Initiative, according to The Huffington Post Canada.
The paper was published in the April issue of the British Journal of Sports Medicine, and goes as far as including suggestions as to how to adapt the new guidelines to individual sports.
The biggest change is a revision of the suggested amount of time an athlete dealing with a concussion needs to rest before returning to cognitive and physical activities. Surprisingly, they are suggesting less time spent away from activity.
“What’s changed is in the past, we would say if you’re not better, well ‘get more rest.’ And now we’re recognizing that in the 20 per cent or so who are not recovered by 10 days, that often there are other things that are going on that require a more detailed assessment and often can benefit from rehabilitation.”
The gradual return to activity suggested by the panel is called “a sensible approach,” though they say athletes should still receive medical clearance before returning to competition and practice.
It seems questionable to me that less time spent healing, and a return to activities would be beneficial to those still struggling with symptoms, but the medical professionals know best, and they state that most treatments suggesting longer periods of rest are mostly unproven.