In 2001, the first International Symposium on Concussion in Sport was held in Austria. The symposium was organized by international hockey, soccer, and olympic organizations. The goal was to improve the health of athletes who had sustained head injuries.
Experts spoke at the symposium about clinical science, the grading systems, protective equipment, and the research they were doing in the field. With this information, the group tried to create a unitary model for understanding concussions. The document was developed for everyone involved in professional sports, from doctors to coaches.
The panel recommended closer and more thorough tracking of head injuries as a history of previous concussions is very important when diagnosing concussions. It is also important to do baseline neurological testing before the athlete is injured so comparisons can be made between the brain before and after injury. They introduced a new grading system, which emphasized the importance of sideline evaluation to be followed by more thorough examination.
Strict Concussion Protocol
If an athlete is even suspected of having a concussion and displays ANY symptoms, they are not to play. After a concussive injury, players have to go through a rehabilitation process that requires close monitoring for continuing symptoms and a long time off the playing field.
The study acknowledged that helmets were not always protective and encouraged sports to reduce the likelihood of concussion by making certain kinds of play off-limits. For example, making head checking in Hockey a foul and makings sure refs and coaches enforced these rules.
NFL Doesn’t Participate
The NFL had it’s own concussion research group that did not participate in the symposium and had much more lenient rules and recommendations. The International Symposium, working with all available medical research, knew that stricter rules would help the players but be difficult to enforce because everyone wants to get a player back on the field. Despite the fact that so many major sports adopted these standards, the NFL held out.