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Health Panel to Study Risk of Concussions in Youth Sports

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Jan. 8 (Bloomberg) -- The risk of concussions from youth sports is being studied by a U.S. advisory medical panel as college and professional leagues have increased their scrutiny of potential sports-related brain injuries.

The Institute of Medicine has begun an investigation into concussions related to sports for players from elementary school age through young adulthood, the group said in a posting on its website. The panel will review risk factors, screening and diagnosis, as well as treatment and long-term consequences, it said in the statement. The Washington-based nonprofit organization provides advice to policy makers and the public.

Previous research has found that football is the deadliest sport among young athletes, and deaths may have been prevented if athletes with head injuries had been kept off the field, according to a 2011 study in the journal Pediatrics. A study published yesterday in the journal JAMA Neurology found physical abnormalities in the brains of former NFL players, when compared to peers.

The IOM panel said it will review available information on concussions, especially in the context of the maturing brain, and review the effectiveness of protective equipment.

To contact the reporter on this story: Elizabeth Lopatto in New York at elopatto@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reg Gale at rgale5@bloomberg.net

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