Dr. Karen Johnston provides input on diagnosis and treatment guidelines

Toronto (May 10, 2009) - A first–of–its–kind consensus statement that addresses the definition, diagnosis, treatment and assessment of concussions was published Friday in the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine and will appear in many other prestigious journals, such as the British Journal of Sports Medicine and Journal of Clinical Neuroscience in the coming weeks.

The document was drafted by a group of international concussion experts and is intended to be used as a guide for athletic trainers, healthcare professionals, coaches and other people involved in the care of injured athletes. The document was developed at the 3rd International Conference on Concussion in Sport, which was held in Zurich in late 2008. The conference was organized by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), the Federation Internationale de Football (FIFA), the International Olympic Committee Medical Commission (IOC) and the International Rugby Board (IRB).

"The IIHF, FIFA, IOC and IRB once again brought together world experts in sport concussion, this time to achieve a consensus document. This is a first and follows guideline papers previously developed first in Vienna then in Prague," says Dr. Karen Johnston, neurosurgeon and director of the Sport Concussion Clinic at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute (Toronto Rehab) and an international neurosurgical consultant for professional and amateur sporting groups. "The paper provides important updates to our understanding of sport concussion based on new science and directs modified approaches to diagnostic and management issues. It will become the 'go to' document for sport doctors, coaches, trainers and athletes alike to guide them in dealing with sport concussion."

The paper is accompanied by a revised Sport Concussion Assessment Tool (SCAT2), an objective and standardized diagnosis method for caregivers to use for concussions in athletes over the age of 10.

Some highlights of the consensus document include:

  • Return–to–play guidelines for both elite and non–elite athletes
  • The use of balance assessment technology in diagnosing concussions
  • The importance of knowledge transfer about concussions between athletes, health–care providers and the general public
  • The introduction of a pocket–sized SCAT2

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