Mar 18, 2013 5:34 PM by NBC News
When in doubt, take them out.
That's the crux of new guidelines from the American Academy of Neurology on treating athletes who've taken a big blow to the head.
The guidelines recommend coaches take players out of the game as soon as they think they may have suffered a concussion, and they shouldn't be allowed to play again until they've been checked out by a health professional well versed in concussion treatment.
Neurologists say the brain can recover more quickly if the athlete rests immediately and is given time to heal.
"The kids that continue to increase their heart rate and get headaches during the course of the game, those are the brains that don't get better faster," explains the Cleveland Clinic's Dr. Richard Figler.
Children and high school-aged players should be treated more conservatively.
The Academy found evidence that younger brains take longer to recover than college athletes'.
Experts say that protection likely will not come from a helmet, which is designed to prevent skull fractures, not concussions.
Symptoms of a concussion include ongoing headaches, fogginess, sensitivity to light and sound, and changes in reaction time and balance.
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