According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), concussions are one of the most commonly reported injuries in children and adolescents who participate in sports and recreational activities. Their data estimates that as many as 3,900,000 sports-related and recreation-related concussions occur in the United States each year.1 At the same time, the effects of concussions on National Football League(NFL) pro football players have received much press this season. In just one weekend this past December, Green Bay Packers quarterback, Aaron Rodgers; Pittsburgh Steelers tight end, Heath Miller; Arizona Cardinals quarterback, Derek Anderson; and Indianapolis Colts wide receiver, Austin Collie were all in the news after being sidelined due to concussions. According to NFL data obtained by the Associated Press, the number of concussions being reported this season is up more than 20 percent from 2009, and more than 30 percent from 2008.2
What is a Concussion?
A concussion is caused by a blow or motion to the head or body that causes the brain to move rapidly inside the skull. A concussion is a mild form of traumatic brain injury. The risk of catastrophic injuries or death can be significant especially in youth athletes when a concussion or head injury is not properly evaluated or managed.
Who is Zackery Lystedt and Why Is a Law Named for Him?
Zackery is a young athlete from the state of Washington. Three years ago, while playing football for his middle-school team, Zack’s head hit the ground late in the first half of a game. He grabbed his helmet in obvious pain as he struggled to get up. He made it to the sideline, sat out for about fifteen minutes, and then went back in the game after half time. Zack continued to have symptoms from his first blow, and took other blows to his head in the second half of the game. On the last play of the game, Zack was involved in another tackle, this time forcing a fumble on the goal line to save the game. Zack collapsed in his father’s arms when the game ended, suffering a life-threatening brain hemorrhage that resulted in the removal of both sides of his cranium. He was in and out of a coma for almost three months. In the three years since Zackery was injured, his family’s focus has been two-fold: helping Zack heal, and preventing others from suffering a similar fate. Their goal has been to encourage states to enact laws requiring that athletes under the age of eighteen who are suspected of having sustained a concussion are removed from practice or a game — and not allowed to return until they have obtained a written return-to-play authorization from a medical professional trained in the diagnosis and management of concussions.
A Coalition to Advocate for Zackery Lystedt Laws in Every State
In 2009, The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the world’s largest sports science and medicine professional organization, demonstrated their commitment to sports and recreation safety by issuing a national call to action for Lystedt Laws to be passed in every state and the District of Columbia. The NFL has joined in these advocacy efforts. In October 2010, NFL Commissioner Goodell spoke at the "Keep Youth Sports Safe" conference at the Seattle Seahawks’ offices. At the conference, Commissioner Goodell met Zack Lystedt and his family and committed that the league will continue to support promotion and adoption of the Lystedt Law until all fifty states pass Zackery’s law, or take action to keep youth sports safe from the risks of concussion. Watch a video of the commissioner’s speech at: www.nflhealthandsafety.com/media/videos/#promoting-safety-in-youth-sports. Read the commissioner’s letter to state governors at: www.nflhealthandsafety.com/pdf/NJGovernorLetterRG-508.pdf.
Progress in Other Sites
Application to the Camp Community
- Activities involving any kind of motorized vehicle
- Activities involving boarding, in-line skating, and hockey
- Adventure/challenge activities that involve rock climbing, rappelling, spelunking, high ropes (including zip lines), or vertical climbing walls/towers
- All horseback riding activities, including pony rides
Understand how to recognize and evaluate a camper with a concussion
- Understand how to manage and treat a camper with a concussion (in partnership with parents)
- Develop policies and procedures regarding when a camper can return to camp activities
Concussion data, Information, and Overview: http://www.cdc.gov/concussion
- Learn to Prevent and Recognize Concussions: http://www .cdc.gov/Features/Concussion/
- Heads Up — Concussions in Youth Sports Toolkit: http://www.cdc.gov/concussion/HeadsUp/youth.html
This resource includes:
- Fact sheet for coaches (useful for camp staff)
- Fact sheet for athletes (useful for campers)
- Fact sheet for parents
- Toolkit on Concussions for Team Physicians: http://www .cdc.gov/concussion/HeadsUp/physicians_tool_kit.html (useful for camp doctors and medical staff)
- Team Physician Consensus Statement: Concussion (Mild Traumatic Brain Injury) and the Team Physician: http://www.acsm.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Search&TEMPLATE=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&CONTENTID=12896&SECTION=Annual_Meeting
This resource is a consensus statement of ACSM, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, and the American Osteopathic Academy of Sports Medicine. AA AA
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
- AAP Policy — Sport-Related Concussion in Children and Adolescents: http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/pediatrics;126/3/597