Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Brain supplements targeted at young athletes
Education and awareness of concussions and second impact syndrome is increasingly gaining strength each day. With an array of researchers all over the world investigating the short and long term impacts of these cerebral injuries, it has gained media attention. However, parents, coaches, athletes and researches aren't the only one's grabbing the public's attention. Recent articles and media have began to shine on a different angle- brain supplements. One particular company has been on the market for only one month and already signed on to sponsor a high school football combine this summer. Parents, coaches, and athletes should know this "brain supplement" does not require pre-FDA approval as it is a dietary supplement. Currently on the market, there are at least 5-10 products either in development or already post production under the label "brain supplement". The aim of the "brain supplements" composed of ingredients such as DHA (a plant derivative of omega-3) are to mitigate symptoms and effects of concussions. Currently, there is little to no research to support the effects of brain supplements. In addition, one company claimed his clinical trials, which were tested on his sample population of eighteen "concussed subjects"; claimed he would sign up with the FDA "retroactively" for the clinical trials. While a "magic pill" to resolve a concussion would be ideal, it is noteworthy to express this dietary supplement is no such pill. Researchers of the University of Texas, Arlington add, “Why do we want the brain to recover faster than it needs to? I’d rather have the brain just take its own recovery pattern and make sure each individual receives the appropriate medical care.” Research has indicated "rest" as being the ultimate source of healing for the brain. Additionally, evidence supports an early return can cause detrimental and long-lasting effects for a young athlete who returns to play quickly. Over 30 states have passed laws addressing the return to play protocol and to allow for appropriate healing time. (Be sure to check with your state legislation on the proper protocol for return to play). Currently, their are several more products to be released shortly-sometime this year-as the developmental stages continue. Endorsements with pro athletes in the NFL and Martial arts have already signed on to promote the effects of brain supplements. For parents, coaches, Athletic Trainers, and athletes the protocol for return to play must follow the guidelines of the state. In California, any athlete with a concussion must seek medical clearance prior to return to play, along with progressive exercises, rest, and time out of school. For more information on prevention and treatment of concussions as well as return to play, visit the Advocates for Injured Athletes webpage.
Posted by Athlete Advocate at 12:06 AM