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New, tighter concussion guidelines for youth

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The American Academy of Neurology based in Minneapolis says any athlete suspected of having a concussion should be immediately removed from play. 

The recommendation is part of an updated set of guidelines the association released Monday after an extensive review of medical studies.

Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher said the guidelines also establish a roadmap to help physicians better manage their patients brain injuries. He said in the case of youth athletes, parents need to be part of that process. 

  "I leave it to parents to be advocates for their kids and good consumers and find licensed health care providers who have experience and training and a certain expertise in dealing with concussions," Kutcher said.

The guidelines also recommend against a "one-size-fits-all" approach to treating concussions, Kutcher said.

  "Instead of saying, 'You have a concussion you're out a week' or 'You have a certain type of concussion, you're out two weeks,' that's not the approach because the injury doesn't behave that way," Kutcher said. "Players are ready to come back when the injuries are over and determining that is a very complex and dynamic process."

The guidelines urge physicians to be particularly conservative in returning young athletes to play following a concussion because the evidence shows that they often take longer to recover.

Most states, including Minnesota, have passed concussion laws that require a health provider's clearance before a student athlete can return to play following a concussion injury.