Concussions and young athletes: New CON-TEX study

Updated: Feb. 26, 2016 at 4:12 PM EST
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DALLAS (Ivanhoe Newswire/WTVM) -- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports 3.8 million sports concussions a year, not just in football, but in all sports, among all ages. The pros get a lot of attention, but what is the best treatment for young athletes? Researchers are working now to answer that question.

Four months ago 14-year-old Nico Reyes banged heads with another soccer player, suffered a concussion, and stayed in the game until he scored his third goal.

Nico says, "You got to get back up, you can't cry about it. So, I got up and said I'm going to finish this game, and it was obviously the wrong decision."

Doctors diagnosed a mild concussion, but the top student started forgetting names, and his grades were in danger.  Now Nico is part of a pioneering study on concussions in young people.

Researchers in Texas are collecting data on hundreds of concussion patients, including recovery time, gender differences and maturation differences from kindergarten through high school.

C. Munro Cullum, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas says, "In the field we say that once you've seen one concussion, you've seen one concussion because no two are alike."

Researchers are also determining the most effective treatments.

Dr. Cullum says, "You actually want to get someone back to their normal routine as soon as possible but there has to be some period of rest initially."

Nico fears a second concussion and won't be going for headers any time soon.

His mother, Margarita Reyes, says, "The first thing is health, he can't play soccer if he is not healthy. He cannot do anything, if he is not healthy."

The CDC now has a section on its website called 'Heads Up to Youth Sports', with vital information about all aspects of concussions for coaches, parents, officials and young athletes.

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