- A University of New Mexico study suggests that reported rates of concussions in physical education classes were 60% higher than reported rates of concussion in sports, according to responses from 99 athletic directors and trainers, Reuters reports.
- However, some physicians doubt the findings, which were reported in the American Journal of Public Health, pointing out that students in physical education classes may be more likely to over-report concussions, while student athletes are motivated to under-report symptoms for fear of being removed from the game.
- The authors of the study feel that the higher concussion rate for students in physical education classes could stem from the fact that teachers and students don't pay as much attention to preventing concussions, and students are not generally as fit as student athletes. They recommend more concussion education.
As new research emerges around the impact of concussions, school districts need to be aware of how school activities can lead to concussions not just on the sports field, but in physical education classes as well. Concussions affect children for a longer period of time than adults, and research shows teens are even more likely to be affected than children. Not only can concussions have an impact on student performance, an issue that all teachers need to be aware of, but they can also affect the mental health of teens especially.
Physical education teachers need to receive the same training as coaches when it comes to concussions and other sports health issues. There are many materials available that can be used to teach about concussion identification and care, and many of these lessons are designed to share with students, as well. Doing so can help students make connections between physical education, science and health, and even writing.
As the issue evolves, school administrators must stay informed. In fact, an international panel of neurologists just released new guidelines for care of potential concussions. These new guidelines suggest that “any athlete eighteen or younger who is believed to have sustained a concussion during a game or practice should never be allowed to return to the playing field the same day. The group had previously recommended that athletes could return if cleared by a doctor or certified athletic trainer, but now suggest that it is impossible to make immediate accurate assessments after the injury. It can be dangerous for an athlete to return to the game too soon.”