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Editorial: Sports head hits need to be solved

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Athletes and parents from t-ball baseball and youth hockey to college basketball and professional baseball need to pay attention -- concussions are becoming a major issue in sports at all levels.

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There are examples of the seriousness of athlete concussions everywhere you luck.

Minnesota Twin's Justin Morneau suffered a concussion on July 7 and then missed the rest of the 2010 baseball season due to post-concussion syndrome.

The National Football League this week issued fines, one reaching $75,000, for head-to-head hits and told players that suspensions will occur in the future.

This week experts gathered at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester for "The Ice Hockey Summit: Action on Concussion," a two-day summit on sports-related concussions. Those attending included many of the foremost experts on concussions.

Traditionally, any athlete facing a concussion was focused more on when he or she could get back on the field, court or ice, not when their brain injury recovery will be complete.

The Mayo hockey concussion summit ended first with a call for a total ban on contact with the head -- at all levels of the sport. There was also a recommendation for mandatory education of coaches, parents, referees and physicians. Finally, there was a call for a prohibition of athletes returning to play from concussion injuries until a doctor clears the individual.

The handling of athletes suffering from concussions and avoiding such injuries will not change quickly, but improve over time.

Education and changing the culture of sports at all levels will be the hurdle facing the growing challenge of sports concussions.

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