According to the New York Times, the American Academy of Neurology has changed its concussion guidelines as of Monday. The revised guidelines stress that athletes should be treated as individual cases rather than by a predetermined scale.
This new way of handling concussions is more aligned with the way sports teams, associations and leagues treat them currently. It also shows that these injuries are not just black and white, but cover a large gray area.
Dr. Christopher C. Giza of the David Geffen School of Medicine and Mattel Children's Hospital at U.C.L.A. and a lead author of the guidelines stated, "We’ve moved away from the concussion grading systems we first established in 1997 and are now recommending concussion and return to play be assessed in each athlete individually."
Giza, along with the other authors, said that concussions are a clinical diagnosis. "Symptom checklists, the Standardized Assessment of Concussion (SAC), neuropsychological testing (paper-and-pencil and computerized) and the Balance Error Scoring System may be helpful tools in diagnosing and managing concussions but should not be used alone for making a diagnosis."
The authors also noted that over one million American athletes suffer concussions each year. Symptoms can include sensitivity to light and sound; headaches; changes in judgement, reaction time, memory, speech or sleep; and blackouts or loss of consciousness.