Archive | November, 2011

Kris Letang Injury – Pittsburgh Penguins

30 Nov

I was notified of this injury/incident from @beezee05 on Saturday as it unfolded.  Since I had no way of watching what had happened the initial information was via twitter.  From the reports I gathered that Kris Letang of the Pittsburgh Penguins was hit in the head by a check from Max Pacioretty that not only dropped Letang but produced the appearance of unsteadiness after the hit.  Here is the hit;

Not only did Pacioretty’s shoulder make principal contact with the head (agreed upon and explained by Brendan Shanahan of the NHL), Letang was having a difficult time maintaining his steadiness on all fours.  Not to mention the blood pouring from his nose.  Granted hockey players are tough, it appears that there was more than a “broken nose” on that play.  The signs are there, albeit subtle, of a concussion.  Add to the fact that Letang needed assistance from teammates to get to the bench, seen here (NSFW); Continue reading

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WEIU Newswatch In Focus: Concussions

29 Nov

OK here is your chance to critique my efforts on camera.  I have already heard the “a face only a mother can love” or “your looks are great for radio”; never mind that watch this program from the Mattoon-Charleston public television.  I would like to thank WEIU for the opportunity.

All comments are welcome, yes all of them, let me have it!!!

Playing With Fire

29 Nov

We have discussed how playing with a brain injury can be dangerous; more immediately dangerous for the younger athlete.  However, continually disturbing the brain while it is recovering only prolongs the issue and is a detriment to long-term brain health.  This is the part of sports that gives credence to the awareness and education initiative.

Apparently the NFL, specifically the Pittsburgh Steelers, does not fully grasp everything involved with and around concussions.  I would think that of all the teams that should be well versed in the history of concussions and health risks it would be the former employer of Mike Webster.  Along with Webster, the Steelers have been on the cutting edge of research, perhaps not the team – rather those that are associated with them: Continue reading

The Concussion Tipping Point

28 Nov

In The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, he notes that there are 3 rules of epidemics (in this case, the galvanizing of support for concussion awareness/understanding): 1) the Law of the Few, 2) the Stickiness Factor, 3) the Power of Context. Concussions and all brain injury are issues that need to become epidemics to gain any real level of support. Support that is now seriously lacking. I will try to apply each of these 3 rules to concussion/brain injury understanding and awareness.

1) The Law of the Few. Gladwell talks about a Paul Revere’s midnight ride and further breaks down this rule into 3 parts (Mavens, Connectors and Salesmen). It seems to me that telling people they need to know learn something or they should support something, inevitably spawns a level of resentment, however subconscious this is and however well-meaning someone is to a cause. Guilt is not a sales technique that will keep people interested and it doesn’t encourage people to spread the message. With the huge sports media and others constantly bringing up the issue, concussions have been a prevailing issue in hockey and football, Continue reading

2011 NFL Concussion Report Week 11

25 Nov

The Concussion Blog Original, NFL Concussion Report, is a weekly compiling of the reported head injuries in the National Football League.  Concussions are added to the list each week from multiple sources to give you the reader a picture of what is happening on the field.  Each week we will bring you the information along with relevant statistics.  If we have missed a concussion or put one on here erroneously, let us know (we will also be using Fink’s Rule to classify a concussion/head injury).

Regular season concussion/head injury numbers have eclipsed the century mark; 104 to be exact.

All of the byes have taken place and there will be 16 games per week going forward; based upon stats we can expect 2-3 more concussions per week to be listed.  Specific injuries to highlight this week were few, as most have been attended to, the Gronkowski incident not withstanding.  There were three players put on injured reserve due to concussions this week: Scott Mruczkowski, Clint Session and David Thomas.  Speaking of Thomas he is the first player I have seen with the new Riddell 360 that has suffered a concussion.

Speaking of helmets it is time to break down the helmet data once again.  Our random helmet sample provided us with this information;

  • Riddell – 62%
  • 35% VSR4, 27% Revolution, 38% RevoSpeed
  • Schutt – 36 %
    • 45% AiR, 49% AiRXP, 2% Ion4D, 4% DNA
  • Other – 2%
  • Our information regarding current concussion listing and helmets; Continue reading

    Florio-Carroll Plan Installed

    24 Nov

    As detailed by Mike Florio and Will Carroll in their ongoing coverage of concussions the NFL has sent a memo out to the teams informing them the NFL Observer at the games will have a “hotline” to the medical staff of each team on game days via Chris Mortensen;

    “A direct ring-down phone line must be in place from the NFL Observer position in the press box to both the home and visiting bench areas,” the memo reads. “This line should be clearly marked on the NFL Observer’s phone. The purpose of the additional phone lines is to allow the NFL Observer to alert the Athletic Training staff to a possible injury that may have been missed at field-level.”

    After receiving a call, a team’s athletic training staff is expected to “verify that the player is being checked or that he will follow up on the situation.”

    Although it is not the full plan detailed by Florio, it does put yet another set of eyes on the field that can help teams discover all injuries including head/brain injuries.  The memo does not specifically mention concussions but it is easy to assume this is the impetus after the Kris Dielman incident, as well as other peculiar situations like “dirt in the eye”.

    The NFL Observer at the game is not the only one that can make the decision to call, at Command Central if a player is seen on a broadcast they too can initiate the phone call by relaying that to the Observer at the game.  As games kick off today we can only hope to see an immediate impact like the officials did when it was first installed.

    Although I have ZERO pull, I would like to openly apply for one of these positions, as I have been calling for this for some time.  Is there anyone out there that can get Commissioner Goodell to call me?

     

    Crosby has patience, what about the sports media?

    24 Nov

    It was really exciting seeing Crosby score his first (and second) goal and play so well the entire night!

    One thing that many in the sports media overlook, however, is the importance of fatigue with brain injury. I don’t know how much fatigue has effected Crosby, but I would caution them that even though he can play well, with lots of energy for a game or a few games, there could very well be days when his body kind of shuts down or doesn’t react as quickly as he’d like. Before the hockey commentators anoint him scoring champion, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him miss a game or two based on fatigue or other concussion symptoms.
    This is by no means a medical assessment, Continue reading

    Examples Of Horrible and Great Decisions

    23 Nov

    Two weeks ago I highlighted the clear message from the International Rugby Board about concussions, however what I didn’t know is that this protocol was apparently not used for a French player in the World Championship match.  There were two comments, one that led me to the write up about this situation;

    Parra took what appeared to be an accidental blow to the side of his head from the knee of All Blacks’ Captain Richie McCaw in a ruck, and appeared to be visibly concussed, looking shaky on getting up after receiving lengthy on-field medical attention. Continue reading

    Gronk: Epitome Of The NFL

    22 Nov

    Although the awareness is much better, there still remains a stigma associated with concussions.  This problem is not just an NFL problem, it is a sports problem; from the professional level all the way down to youth leagues.  Nothing more clearly shows this than a comment from Rob Gronkowski of the Patriots last night.

    After landing on his head and stumbling to his feet (watching the replay you can see a concerned official come racing in to check on him), he emphatically spiked the ball and resumed play.  The initial reaction was very similar to other incidents where the results were concussions or even “dirt in the eye”.  When asked about it “Gronk” laughed it off saying; “I remember the moment and everything… If I didn’t I still wouldn’t even say I didn’t. I’m trying to play this week.” (Also covered on ProFootballTalk)

    This comment was on the post game interview on ESPN and really didn’t surprise me one bit.  Players are conditioned Continue reading

    “I’m Not Going To Risk My Life For Football”

    21 Nov

    The 17-year-old senior at Belleville West is part of the growing number of players in a variety of sports who find themselves permanently sidelined by concussion and post-concussion syndrome.

    “You know what? I’m not going to risk my life for high school football,” said Behnke, a Millstadt resident who got his second concussion while playing for Lutheran South in St. Louis County in 2010 and his third playing for Belleville West this season. “It was really tough. I really wanted to play. I didn’t mind so much my junior year because I knew I had one more year in me.

    “But it really stunk not playing my senior year.”

    In a story found in the Belleville News Democrat, Alex Behnke once was devoted to the sport of football, however Continue reading

    NYU Expert Panel Discussion

    21 Nov

    Last Tuesday the New York University and its Langone Medical Center hosted a panel discussion about the ethics and responsibility of who handles injuries on the field of play, including/focusing on concussions.  The list of those taking part in the activity is very lengthy, here is a sampling; Harry Carson, Chris Nowinski, Brendan Shanahan and other MD/DO/important people in this area.

    What come from the panel re: concussions was not breaking news rather one of erasing a stigma;

    • Understand the issues: A great deal has been learned about concussions in the last 10 years, but they are complex and can be difficult to diagnose, especially on the field. While medical, sports and equipment experts are working to evolve technology, guidelines and rules to keep contact sports safe – equipment alone does not protect the brain from being jarred during contact.
    • Awareness is vital: The more players, trainers, coaches, parents and sports organizers understand about the real – and often hidden – dangers of head injuries, the more likely the right decisions will be made on the practice field, sideline or locker room. Professional leagues, retired players and other advocacy groups also help the medical community develop best practices and support better awareness in youth and recreational programs. The media and internet play a key role in providing information on the potential long-term dangers of head injuries.
    • Everyone is responsible: All panelists agreed – no matter what the age or level of play – when a potential injury to the brain is involved there is no gray area: athletes must be removed from play and receive appropriate medical attention despite any desire of the athlete, and even a parent, to continue playing.

    The only issue I take with this press release and “take away message” is the very fist sentence of the first bullet point.  Concussions are Continue reading

    Guess Who’s Back?

    21 Nov

    I would hope the news has not escaped you – Google ‘concussion’ in the news chronologically you would find 64 of the first 80 articles are devoted to one thing; the return of Sidney Crosby.

    It has been 11 months and 14 days since he was last on the ice when he was playing with a concussion he suffered the game before.  Upon getting his head jarred against the boards the symptoms were too much (called a “mild concussion” by his coach) and so began his difficult return to play.  This incident has been the most covered concussion management/recovery/rehabilitation in history and at times many thought he would not return.  Others thought he should have been on the ice faster, regardless he is back.

    The most important factor in this case; the emphasis on full recovery before return to play.  Many times it was reported Continue reading

    Lucic hit on Miller: Penalize or Punish?

    18 Nov

    I was at the game in Boston on Saturday, November 12, 2011, so I saw the play in which Milan Lucic crushed goalie Ryan Miller. Immediately there was a quick groan in the crowd around me. My friends know the seriousness of major strikes to the head better than most people, so they could see how bad the hit was and how much it could affect Miller.

    After the immediate shock of the hit, the crowd went crazy. There was long and sustained loud cheering for Lucic and jeering of the Buffalo players for their reaction. There was also intense booing of the 2 minute penalty assigned to Lucic for the hit. This was followed by equally intense cheering as Milan Lucic was celebrated in a video shown on the scoreboard screen, profiling his big hits and physical style of play. It seemed the fans couldn’t be prouder. Of course, there is a whole separate debate among hockey players and media about goalies being able to play a puck outside of their respective, claustrophobic creases.

    The referees didn’t assign a larger penalty because Continue reading

    Adolescent Concussion Presentation

    18 Nov

    Posted on YouTube this is a presentation from the Mayo Clinic on concussions.  It is over 40 minutes in length but provides good information.

    2011 NFL Concussion Report Week 10

    18 Nov

    The Concussion Blog Original, NFL Concussion Report, is a weekly compiling of the reported head injuries in the National Football League.  Concussions are added to the list each week from multiple sources to give you the reader a picture of what is happening on the field.  Each week we will bring you the information along with relevant statistics.  If we have missed a concussion or put one on here erroneously, let us know (we will also be using Fink’s Rule to classify a concussion/head injury).

    If you take out the anomaly of Week 8 the NFL has been very consistent since the beginning of the year.  If that were the “true” case we would be observing a very static rate of concussion per week this season.  Two “new” developments: 1) the addition of two separate concussion to the Injury List that occurred in practice, in the past two weeks there has been three. 2) offensive lineman concussions, by percentage, have almost doubled since last year.

    I am however finding it difficult to confirm if concussions have happened during special teams action.  As of now we have three confirmed (2 on punt) and one suspected.  If this is again a “true” set of numbers it would seem that the rule changes have been effective in reducing concussions.

    I will no longer bore you with aimless rambling so here are the Regular Season stats (126 Since Camp Began); Continue reading

    Coexistence of Concussion and Football: Parts II and III

    17 Nov

    I have been asked to write about concussions from time to time.  I attempted a chapter on concussions for a book at some point, over the next few weeks I will post this chapter, as I wrote it, no matter how horrible it is.  After all I am not an author, but at least you can take a look.  This particular chapter deals with concussions in the sport of football.  We all should know this injury can be sustained in any sport.  Because football is the biggest draw of sporting eyes I felt it was best to present it in this way. (Part I)

    What is a Concussion

    Simply put; a concussion is a disruption of normal brain function.  More specifically a concussion is a traumatic brain injury, which has developed due to unnatural forces applied to the brain, resulting in symptoms indicative with the injury.

    Webster Dictionary[i] defines concussion as (noun);

    1. 1.      A shaking or agitation; a shock; caused by the collision of two bodies.
    2. 2.      (Med.) A condition of lowered functional activity, without visible structural change, produced in an organ by a shock, as by fall or blow; as, a concussion of the brain.

     

    In terms of football and sports, concussions can be further defined as it has been at About.com[ii];

    Concussions are traumatic head injuries that occur from both mild and severe blows to the head. Some head injuries may appear to be mild but research is finding that concussions can have serious, long-term effects, especially repeat head injuries or cumulative concussions.

    A concussion is typically caused by a Continue reading

    A Concussion Survivor

    16 Nov

    Drew is the son of Tracey Mayer – one of our Parent Advocates – and like John Gonoude a person that has overcome the stigma of concussion.  Not only is it a real brain injury, not treating it correctly can have life long effects for more people than we care to admit.  As Drew finds time he will send us updates, we hope this avenue will help him as well.

    When my mom asked me to write for the blog, I knew instantly that I was interested but the first few times I sat down to write about it, things became tougher for me than I had thought.  Although I have had so much support and worked on moving forward from my freshman incident, this whole situation continues to be a sensitive topic for me to talk about.

    As my senior year progresses, everything has been moving more smoothly than ever.  Starting off the year I still continued to set my standards high; to keep improving in my classes.  Just in case I needed a little GPA boost, I had taken a couple AP classes for the first time in my 4 years of high school – unlike many of my friends who decided to have a blow off schedule.  This was more of something that would just Continue reading

    New Website To Visit

    16 Nov

    Brandon Drummond and Anthony Fiume have been working hard on a campaign to help spread the word about concussion awareness.  They developed Save Your Brain (SYB) awhile back but now have worked hard enough to launch their website, www.weheartbrain.com.

    The Concussion Blog is pleased to announce that we are collaborating with SYB both in news gathering/education and as an advisor for the campaign.  We truly appreciate everything that Brandon and Anthony have done to further the awareness cause.

    Make their website a destination!

    2011 NCAA Football Reported-Concussion Study: Week 11

    15 Nov

    The Concussion Blog Original, 2011 NCAA Football Reported-Concussion Study, is a weekly compilation of reported head injuries in Division-I college football.  Concussions are added to the list each week from multiple sources to give you, the reader, a picture of what is happening on the field.  Each week we will bring you the information along with relevant statistics.  This study recognizes that the NCAA has no mandated requirements in reporting injuries, but hopes to shed light on an issue that hasn’t received the kind of critical recognition to that of the National Football League’s.  We encourage reader involvement in contributing to this comprehensive online study.  We will be using Fink’s rule to classify a concussion/head injury.

    As we all very well know, college athletics are a beloved element in our national sports culture- controversy aside.  With understanding this country-wide phenomena in the adoration of college football, specifically, we recognize this love, and sit back in our own respective comfort zones of viewing games with our friends and families cheering on our favorite programs and alma mater institutions.  College football is a significant part of our exposure to sports, but for the sake of specificity as it relates to the regards of our blog, college football has not necessarily been given much attention in consideration of the sports concussion crisis.  The purpose of this study is largely to bring forth such attention, and to generate critical questions of the standards in place as football as a whole, without secluding the focus to only that of the professional levels.  This is a hard task, mainly because of the abundance of programs at the Division-I level, but also due to the fact that the NCAA has no requirements placed on coaching staffs to report injuries sustained by players during play. Continue reading

    Getting Closer To College: Tracey Mayer

    15 Nov

    Parent Advocate, Tracey Mayer will be offering up her writings to The Concussion Blog as a resource to the readers, especially the parents out there.  As time allows she will be submitting posts for you to read.  I truly hope that everyone gets a chance to read about concussions from yet another perspective.  Thank you Tracey!

    Although Drew knows the university setting is challenging, I think he sees it as a fresh start.  Now that he is 18, he will have to advocate for himself even more, so it is very important that he fully understands his disability and what his needs will be.  The strategies that have worked for him in high school may or may not work in college.

    As I mentioned in a previous post, Drew’s original plan of study at ISU was the College of Business.  Post-concussion, he can no longer Continue reading

    Cantu Now Following Us?

    15 Nov

    OK that is highly unlikely and very egotistical of us to think so, but really if you look at what is coming out of “Camp Cantu” (as Matt Chaney says), they seem to be touting what we have been saying since last year;

    But Schneider said doctors on both sides of the table agreed on an important new theory on concussion recovery, one that may account for the extended absences of players such as Crosby and Staal.

    “Dr. Ann McKee confirmed that she believes that you can probably heal from the first concussion given time, that you definitely can fully recover and come back and be 100%,” Schneider said . “So that’s what a lot of people are afraid of. They think once you get the big concussion, you’re scarred for life and can’t recover. But her belief — and obviously they’re still developing a lot of things, but she believes, and is in agreement with what our doctors really felt, that if you take your time out and get your proper healing time, then you can fully recover from the brain trauma.” Continue reading

    Complete Misinformation

    14 Nov

    I was looking at articles for the week and tripped across this one from Pennlive.com by Tim Leone and was shocked at what I read; an entire article devoted to misinforming the public about mouthgear;

    The Maher Mouth Guard doesn’t protect teeth. The intent of the device is to help reduce the incidence and severity of concussions through cushioning and proper jaw alignment.

    Reducing the incidence would insinuate that this product can prevent concussions.  If concussions are a random event that no known product can attenuate or prevent, there is nothing that a simple piece of plastic can do in a mouth.  For the inventor to say such things is not only misinforming but fraudulent, period; Continue reading

    2011 NFL Concussion Report Week 9

    11 Nov

    The Concussion Blog Original, NFL Concussion Report, is a weekly compiling of the reported head injuries in the National Football League.  Concussions are added to the list each week from multiple sources to give you the reader a picture of what is happening on the field.  Each week we will bring you the information along with relevant statistics.  If we have missed a concussion or put one on here erroneously, let us know (we will also be using Fink’s Rule to classify a concussion/head injury).

    Last week there was an anomaly with only 2 reported concussions, this week was the polar opposite.  There were 12 reported incidents this week (2 in practices).  Which one is more accurate?  Week 9 would be the answer.

    Week 9 was the first week the officials were asked to have heightened awareness about spotting brain injuries on the field.  As we mentioned on Monday it showed promise; but looking at the averages it was only slightly more effective.  However the move was a good one and in the long run I believe it will result in more cases being caught.

    A lot of the feeling about this week have been made known already, no need to repeat it; so without further delay here are the updated statistics on concussions in the NFL (116 total from the opening of camp); Continue reading

    2011 NCAA Football Reported-Concussion Study: Week 10

    10 Nov

    The Concussion Blog Original, 2011 NCAA Football Reported-Concussion Study, is a weekly compilation of reported head injuries in Division-I college football.  Concussions are added to the list each week from multiple sources to give you, the reader, a picture of what is happening on the field.  Each week we will bring you the information along with relevant statistics.  This study recognizes that the NCAA has no mandated requirements in reporting injuries, but hopes to shed light on an issue that hasn’t received the kind of critical recognition to that of the National Football League’s.  We encourage reader involvement in contributing to this comprehensive online study.  We will be using Fink’s rule to classify a concussion/head injury.

    As we all very well know, college athletics are a beloved element in our national sports culture- controversy aside.  With understanding this country-wide phenomena in the adoration of college football, specifically, we recognize this love, and sit back in our own respective comfort zones of viewing games with our friends and families cheering on our favorite programs and alma mater institutions.  College football is a significant part of our exposure to sports, but for the sake of specificity as it relates to the regards of our blog, college football has not necessarily been given much attention in consideration of the sports concussion crisis.  The purpose of this study is largely to bring forth such attention, and to generate critical questions of the standards in place as football as a whole, without secluding the focus to only that of the professional levels.  This is a hard task, mainly because of the abundance of programs at the Division-I level, but also due to the fact that the NCAA has no requirements placed on coaching staffs to report injuries sustained by players during play. Continue reading

    Student Advocate Speaks on Management

    9 Nov

    As the awareness of the brain injury of concussion gets better there are more and more individuals that want to lend a hand in “spreading the word”.  In Virginia a former athlete that had to give up his aspirations due to brain injury is doing just that;

    Ryan Fitzgerald suffered two concussions in high school that left him with memory loss and problems concentrating. Unable to focus on his schoolwork, he became moody and lashed out at friends.

    Ultimately, the lifelong athlete and former baseball player at Landstown High School in Virginia Beach agreed with his doctor that he should no longer play organized sports. The reason: he didn’t want to risk further damage to his brain.

    Now a first-year student at James Madison University, Fitzgerald is telling other young people that it just isn’t worth rushing back out on the field after a head injury. His message is backed up by a new Virginia law that requires all schools to have concussion-management policies.

    What is extremely important here is that Fitzgerald is now bringing the proper awareness on the recovery/management, the biggest issue facing student-athletes.

    SOURCE

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