Sports advisors and doctors from the American Academy of Neurology suggest that a qualified athletic trainer should be available on the play field all the time, as they have noted that concussions from football may cause serious problems, and repeated concussions may even lead to dementia or Alzheimer's.

Some doctors still feel the idea isn’t really practically possible. However, Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher, chair of the academy's sports neurology section says sports involving touch, or any form of contact, should be totally avoided if a school doesn’t have a professional trainer.

Sportsmen with the traumatic brain injury, the group says, should not be allowed to participate in any sport. Those suspected of concussions should be closely watched, they noted.

Dr. Mark Halstead of Washington University, who co-authored an earlier concussion report for the American Academy of Pediatrics, said the message should reach the athletes, parents and coaches.

He noted that concussions "need to be treated as if they are a big deal. The brain is pretty important." Unconsciousness, unsteadiness, problems with memory or concentration, dizziness and headache, are various symptoms.

We are all quite aware that repeated head blows can cause brain degeneration among boxers, but he said "the degree to which it appears to be happening in other contact sports ... is the new thing."

Kevin Guskiewicz of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, the lead author of the National Athletic Trainers' Association statement on managing concussions, noted that athletic trainers work at about 40 per cent of the high schools, but rarely work with younger athletes. Finding more athletic trainers might be a tough job, he said.

Jim Louro, a league safety officer for the Jersey Shore Pop Warner Football League, said his league says he often pays emergency physical trainers to attend injuries. He also noted that coaches must have professional training to handle such injuries.

Rick Bowden, assistant executive director of the Kansas State High School Activities Association, also noted that it would be a tough proposition.

"There are not enough certified athletic trainers out there, and then there's the expense.... Our member schools have to balance what is desirable with what is possible."

Professional trainers take four years of training and pass a national certification exam, a much rigorous practice than faced by an EMT or a youth sports coach, Guskiewicz said. USA Football has even made a video about concussions, which is now a part of the exam.

Experts hope that the current guidelines will be more adequate as compared against ones written in 1997. They hope to publish it by 2012.

The NFL has increased the list of concussion symptoms after a report on older players was released last year. For instance, they have raised fines for head collisions. Shoulder hits to the head from a player's blind side, were banned by the National Hockey League in March this year. Major League Baseball is known to be starting a new advisory panel on concussion.

The U.S House in September has voted in favor of a panel to handle concussions among school kids. The bill awaits further action. Last year, the Washington State barred athletes younger than 18 with concussion symptoms from returning to their sports without clearance.