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Neurology Group: Physicians Have Ethical Duty to Protect Athletes from Concussion — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
July 10, 2014

Neurology Group: Physicians Have Ethical Duty to Protect Athletes from Concussion

By Amy Orciari Herman

Edited by Susan Sadoughi, MD, and Lorenzo Di Francesco, MD, FACP, FHM

Physicians caring for athletes with sports-related concussions "have an ethical obligation to ensure that their primary responsibility is to safeguard the current and future physical and mental health of their patients," according to a new position statement from the American Academy of Neurology (AAN).

The AAN examined the ethical and legal issues that physicians face when caring for youth and amateur athletes. Among the other conclusions:

  • Physicians are obligated to provide young athletes and their parents with information about concussion risk factors, symptoms, and the risk for post-concussion neurologic issues.

  • Providers should enable "truly informed," shared decision-making among athletes, their parents, and medical personnel for questions regarding concussion management and return to play — while ensuring that their patients are protected from harm.

The group also calls for the creation of a national concussion registry to help facilitate the development of guidelines on concussion prevention and management.

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