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Letter: Work together to prevent concussions

Yusuf Young, a former high school football player

Yusuf Young, a former high school football player from Roosevelt who suffered a concussion while playing in a game in 2014. Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

As leaders in the prevention and treatment of concussion, we applaud Newsday for bringing recognition to this type of injury ["Tackling helmet safety," News, Oct. 7].

Concussions result from many factors, are complex and aren't limited to helmet type. It's important to note that some five-star helmets weigh more than lower-rated helmets, bringing risks if players don't have sufficient neck strength to control the heavier helmet. In concussion prevention, it is crucial to address mouth guards, education, neck strength and reduction of high-risk impacts. We strongly urge teams to:

-- Properly fit helmets and recondition them yearly. Eliminate helmets used for more than five years to reduce the risk of micro-fractures in the shell of the helmet.

-- Teach proper tackling and blocking techniques.

-- Teach neck-strengthening exercises to athletes in contact and collision sports.

-- Limit full contact in practice to avoid cumulative damage to the head.

-- Re-educate parents, players, coaches, athletic trainers and physicians about concussions every year.

-- Create a comprehensive action plan, recognizing when athletes are concussed and when they can return to play.

We need to work together to improve the culture regarding the complex issues surrounding concussions.

Dr. Jennifer Gray, Dr. Hayley Queller, Port Jefferson

Editor's note: The writers are co-directors of the ThinkSmart Concussion Management program at St. Charles Hospital.


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