Archive | December, 2011

2011 in review blog wise

31 Dec

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 180,000 times in 2011. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 8 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Law Suit Overview by NYT

30 Dec

Ken Belson took a stark look at the law suits facing the NFL about head and brain trauma, over a dozen at this time.  The plaintiffs in these cases are going to fight an uphill battle, from resources to even getting the case to trial;

Taken together, the suits filed in courts across the country amount to a multifront legal challenge to the league and to the game itself. While the retired players, including stars like Jim McMahon and Jamal Lewis, face a time-consuming and difficult battle, the N.F.L. will have to spend heavily on lawyers to fend off the chance that juries might award the retired players millions of dollars in damages.

The league must also grapple with unflattering publicity as former players claiming to be hobbled by injuries and, in some cases, suffering from financial problems sue their former employer, the steward of America’s most popular sport. The stakes will only get higher if any of the cases go to trial, where details may emerge about what the N.F.L. knew about concussions and when, how it handled that information, and whether it pushed manufacturers to make the safest helmets possible.

Belson makes some valid points on behalf of both the players and the league; Continue reading

2011 NFL Concussion Update Week 16

30 Dec

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).

Simply put there is an increase in the number of reported concussions in the NFL from last year.  What is not so simple is if this is an increase or decrease of actual numbers.  Finding an accurate number of listed concussions would be nearly impossible prior to last seasons compiling by this blog, as there was no reason to expose the actual injury rate.  We can only go off of purely subjective reports (ironic) of the “old timers” and often poor reports from previous NFL committees.

Going into the last week of regular season action there has been a reported 162 brain injuries, passing the season total of 159 of last season.  With this being the last week for 20 of the teams finding the actual numbers will be very difficult, this is also true of the 4 teams that will have a bye next week.  Those teams will not have to report the injury to the media or NFL as they will not be playing.  For example last season there was an average of 11.4 concussion weeks 12-16, then we only found six in the last week, four of which were listed due to teams playing in the playoffs.

Because of this limitation I AM ASKING ANYONE AND EVERYONE TO PLEASE SEND ALONG ANY CONCUSSION INFORMATION THIS WEEK, PLEASE! Continue reading

Russ Bitely: NHL All-Concussed Team

29 Dec

From the inbox, an article;

Man oh man do I feel really bad for these guys — and for you and me too. Bad for them because they are the ones going through the trauma of the head injury and all the terrible symptoms that follow with the diagnosis of a concussion. It is one thing to lose the ability to stick handle a puck, take a check at center ice without feeling like your brains got scrambled, or even jump the boards for your next shift. That’s the game. It is totally a whole different story when you forget where your daughter’s school is, what date your wife’s birthday falls on, or even the desire to get out of bed in the morning — that’s life.

What else is awful about the concussion plague spreading around the hockey community? Well the fact that these players have devoted so much time, energy, and life into getting to the top professional league of the hockey world and in a moments flash the dream is or could be gone. How the hell would you feel if since age 4-5 you have been skating and where told no more. How the hell would you feel if you have been traveling all-around North America and beyond since the squirt/atom or pee wee days only to have your life-long dream in the NHL cut short. How the hell would you feel about all the sacrifice and commitment your family made over the years so you could do the thing you love, now perhaps just a distant memory.

That is how Russ Bitely, @russbites, started his article Continue reading

NHL Concussion Thoughts

29 Dec

Recently there has been a spike in awareness and number of concussions in the National Hockey League.  Last year we began compiling the injuries in our database to see where the sport stands (we also do NFL, NCAA football, and Aussie Rules Football).  When Sidney Crosby sustained his initial concussion in the Winter Classic last year it seemed that NHL has begun to take notice.

It was refreshing to see The Star of the NHL deal with the brain injury with some transparency, although he endured some criticism what Crosby did was set into motion the awareness of concussions.  Last season prior to the new year it was very difficult to find actual listed concussions; they were veiled in “upper body” or “undisclosed” listings.  In some cases the injury was improperly reported as a neck or shoulder injury; a sign that the concussion was either a) not understood (unlikely) or b) needed to be hidden.

Before you read on it is important to understand the position of the blog and this author about concussions.

Concussions, brain injuries, are an inherent part of collision sports.  There is very little in the way of equipment that can prevent concussions, the only way to impact a positive change (see decrease) is to address the culture and mechanics of sports.  This does not mean that professional sports should be outlawed, rather subtly changed to protect those that play, not only for the immediate time, but for the long-term health of the athletes.  With this; Continue reading

Florio Again Spot On

28 Dec

If you have followed for the past few months you will notice a big increase of posts on one journalists offerings: Mike Florio.  He has taken up the “professional” version of what we have been doing for the past 16 months here on The Concussion Blog.  Although Florio was not an initial proponent of the athletic trainer looking down from above, it seems that he has warmed to the idea.

What that move has done is begin the motion of putting independent neurologist on the sideline/stadium for the evaluation process.  Florio has outlined the basic premise as to why it makes the best sense, but in his most recent post he makes the strongest case yet; Continue reading

Tuesday Quick Hits

27 Dec

Dorsey Levens has produced a video titled “Bell-Rung” (video preview previous post).  This documentary takes a look at some Atlanta area NFL’ers and their battle with the brain injuries associated with football.  Along with the video you will see in the USA Today article that players are more concerned about awareness and long-term health help from the league;

“The lawsuit is more about raising awareness on concussions and trying to light a fire under the NFL to help these guys who are struggling,” said Levens, a Comcast Southeast NFL analyst. “I found there’s a great need for guys, especially with health care.

“You envision playing pro football for however many years; making some good money; retiring and enjoying life. And the quality of life is not what it needs to be for a lot of these guys.

“I’m just trying to get them the medical help they need — sooner than later.”

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The AP produced some results from a survey about concussions in the NFL; Continue reading

Dorsey Levens – “Bell-Rung”

27 Dec

This is piece by Dorsey Levens is exactly what is needed to raise awareness.  Thank you Dorsey!!!

Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays

25 Dec

What ever you choose to celebrate make today a great day to be alive!

The Concussion Blog goes on the road today, heading west to the Great Rocky Mountains, and my native land: Colorado…  Load up the wagon Clark!

Broken Brain Brilliant Mind

24 Dec

To the new followers of this blog; there is one other blog that I find speaks volumes about the experience of brain injury.  Broken Brain – Brilliant Mind is a blog from a person that basically speaks to the world about how a human being is dealing with the after effects of a brain injury (see about the blog HERE).  BB’s blog is very insightful for those that are dealing with post injury problems or the support groups surrounding those people.

There are many kind of posts but it mostly centers around how BB gets through the struggles that present themselves from day-to-day.  BB recently cross linked a story that I checked out, his post speaks volumes about struggles that many do not Continue reading

Another Law Suit vs. NFL

23 Dec

The list keeps growing it will be interesting to see what happens next as more and more players seek court rulings about brain injury;

Former Ravens running back Jamal Lewis is one of four ex-NFL players who are suing the league over brain injuries that they say have impaired their post-football lives, according to an Associated Press report.

Lewis and Dorsey  Levens, Fulton Kuykendall and Ryan Stewart, filed the lawsuit against the National Football League and NFL Properties LLC this week in U.S. District Court in Atlanta, saying the NFL knew as early as the 1920s of the potential for concussions to harm its players but only went public last year.

One of our commenters (“Joe Blogs”)has a theory; Continue reading

2011 NFL Concussion Update Week 15

23 Dec

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).

Colt McCoy will most likely miss another game due to lingering effects of a concussion.  The real question I have is; would he still be out had the proper procedure taken place?  Regardless of how you viewed this incident there were many factors that compounded the situation.  Listen, the Cleveland Browns are probably the best at finding and holding players out because of concussion, this was the case before McCoy and continues after the James Harrison hit.

Speaking of Harrison, Continue reading

Festivus 2011

23 Dec

Today and every December 23rd is Festivus, and although it sprung from a Seinfeld episode, it has qualities that I really enjoy.  The best, in my opinion, is the Airing of Grievances and today we will do it as time warrants.  If you would like to do so as well just click on the comments and have at it.  If you want to remain anonymous in your Grievance you can send an email to us and I will post for you.  Only rules is it must be concussion related (including me/this site).

2010 Festivus

Let the Airing of Grievances begin!!!

  • Mouth Gear Companies (that have not done so already) – your product has little to zero attenuating properties for the brain sloshing around in the skull, stop marketing them that way.
  • Pop Warner Football – is exposing kids as young as 6 years old to repeated head trauma and brain injury really a good idea?
  • Football “Dads” – your son can learn the sport and nuances from playing flag football, and get this, perhaps develop a love of the game without the risk of being destroyed by ‘Jimmy’ the overgrown 8-year-old.
  • James Harrison (two years in a row) – crown of helmet when lowered is a weapon, not intended in the sport of football.
  • Continue reading

Wonderful Retrospective Article

22 Dec

Originally published August 11th, “Student athletes suffer the stings of concussions while lawmakers fail to help” written by Steve Jansen and Gus Garcia-Roberts (not their first) in the Miami New Times News shows examples of how missing concussions and not handling them correctly (from player to coach to parents to athletic trainers) can be very troubling.

Including in this piece are quotes from Dr. David Hovda, one of the leaders in concussion/brain trauma research from UCLA, as well as other lawmakers and parents.

I was previously unaware of the Village Voice Media research and findings; Continue reading

Marines Tracking Concussions/TBI

22 Dec

Effective January 1, the United State Marine Corps will begin tracking all marines and sailors who have sustained head injuries;

The Marine Corps wants to make sure Marines and sailors who suffer concussions and other head injuries are tagged and tracked in a medical database, which officials hope will lead to better health care and treatment.

Starting Jan. 1, every unit will be required to record its Marines and sailors who suffer, or previously had suffered, a traumatic brain injury at any time.

This is a great bit of news for the men and women in uniform, as head injuries compromise the majority of all injuries in the Afgan and Iraq theaters. Here is how Gidget Fuentes wrote how it will work; Continue reading

NFL Concussion Crew

22 Dec

The change for the NFL in searching for and making sure all players with concussion symptoms get checked out will make its debut this weekend.  The addition of non-team paid (NFL) athletic trainers will help with game observation.  The wide angle and TV in the booth should alleviate some of the issues of being preoccupied or blocked from the action.

The concussion observing athletic trainer will not have the authority to actually pull the players nor make any recommendations regarding evaluation.  Rather they will be in communication with both teams to insure that Player X has been checked out.  This process would be similar to the Head Impact Telemetry System (HITS) being employed on college and high school fields.  Instead of using a pager to notify the athletic trainer of an exceedingly high impact, the “independent” athletic trainer will call down to the sidelines.

Yesterday on the Baribeau & Scarbo Show I discussed how it may in fact go down.  I was and still Continue reading

Chaney Tracks Catastrophic Injuries

22 Dec

If you have read the blog much you will find a fair amount of information and commentary from Matt Chaney regarding his position on head/brain injury.  One thing that Matt does well, from his journalistic background, is document the many cases of catastrophic injury related to football in America.

Chaney is not the only one who does this, he just appears to be more transparent about it than the national foundation for such tracking, the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research (NCCSI).  In his most recent post on his blog, Chaney gives us the list he has compiled for 2011, both by the NCCSI criteria and his extended criteria (which deserves credit).

The rate of catastrophic injuries in American football could be a record in 2011, with more than 70 survivor cases of conditions such as brain hemorrhage and spinal fracture, according to an intensive electronic survey by this reporter.

See the complete annotated list of cases below, with juveniles comprising the large majority of victims.

The findings belie talk of “culture change” by football officials, their popular claim of “safer” football in America, and raise question whether catastrophic injuries of the inherently brutal sport are significantly under-reported in record-keeping of the present and past.

Last year the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research (NCCSI) logged only 24 survivor cases—barely half the 2010 cases still available online, including players with brain bleeds and spinal paralysis missed in the report.

Now stronger accounting is assured for 2011, standing on results of my daily searching of Google banks that’s garnered a solid 70 survivor cases for verification as catastrophic football injuries, defined by the NCCSI as affecting the brain, skull, spinal cord and/or vertebral column.

My cases include the following: Continue reading

Is Hearing Them Cheer for You too Much to Concede to Concussion?

21 Dec

Conceding, rather the inability to concede is one of the traits high level athletes have in common.  The dive to succeed and be the best at all costs is what makes some better than others; it makes teams champions.  This quality is also what has put the concussion issue at the forefront.  Blinded by the ‘need’ to overcome and win/perform injuries are often an after thought; this cannot be the case with concussions.

As I was reading one of my favorite sites I came across an article put together by Sean Conboy.  The article was rerun from The Classical and below are some excerpts as to why hearing your name cheered on keeps the mind clouded;

Despite a stunning last-minute loss to Baltimore, Harrison was elated after the game. Things were different. There was an unfamiliar silence in his head, and his cranium did not ache like a mother****er. He was so comfortable, in fact, that, according to the release, “Mr. Harrison called Rob Vito, UNEQUAL’s CEO, to thank him for putting UNEQUAL CRT™ in his helmet, proclaiming it was the first time he did not experience post-game head pain or ringing in his ears.” In seven years.

James Harrison admitted to having symptoms after almost every game, which is not surprising given his propensity to lower and use his head a weapon.  Tell me again why he feels that he was “wronged” Continue reading

Dream Come True

20 Dec

With the breaking news that the NFL and NFLPA will employ independent athletic trainers at games to oversee all concussion-related injuries I am extremely proud.

As a direct result of the Cleveland Browns’ failure to test quarterback Colt McCoy for a concussion on the sideline during a game, the NFL will alert all 32 teams that, effective this week, an independently certified athletics trainer will be assigned to monitor all suspected concussion-related injuries, a league official confirmed Tuesday.

Granted we were not the only ones politely asking the NFL to make necessary changes, Mike Florio and Will Carroll have also been writing about it, but I believe our blog to be the first to suggest that an athletic trainer would be best suited for this position.

I am in no way saying we were the catalyst, but there was a conversation with a NFLPA representative regarding this proposition just after the Colt McCoy incident.

The athletic trainer will have an overall understanding of minutia of sports and injuries, as well as a fundamental background on what to look for and the proper protocol.

This is great news, the NFL and NFLPA deserve a ton of credit for making this move!

Tuesday Quick Hits

20 Dec

One of the largest hurdles in concussion identification and then management is full disclosure by the athlete.  The urge to play and not admit “weakness” lead many to hide the symptoms.  Take Colby Armstrong from the Toronto Maple Leafs for example;

The Toronto Maple Leafs didn’t have a chance to follow any of the guidelines set out in the NHL’s concussion protocol because they were unaware the forward was even experiencing symptoms until almost 48 hours after the collision that caused them.

Armstrong was injured Saturday night against Vancouver, but didn’t let the team’s medical staff know he was feeling nauseous until Monday afternoon.

“It took us all by complete shock because we had no idea that he had his bell rung the other night,” Maple Leafs head coach Ron Wilson said Monday night after a 3-2 shootout loss to Los Angeles.

“He, kind of, kept that from us.” Continue reading

Clincal Utility of ImPACT: Mayers & Redick

19 Dec

A new article on the review of ImPACT and it utility of use in determining return-to-play status of a post concussed individual has been published in the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Psychology.  (Lester B. Mayers & Thomas S. Redick (2011): Clinical utility of ImPACT assessment for postconcussion return-to-play counseling: Psychometric issues, Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, DOI:10.1080/13803395.2011.630655)

The abstract reads; Computerized neuropsychological testing is commonly utilized in the management of sport-related concussion. In particular, the Immediate Postconcussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing 2.0 program (ImPACT) is widely used to assess the cognitive functioning of athletes before and after a concussion.We review the evidence for the clinical utility of this program in terms of validity, reliability, and use in return-to-play decisions. We conclude that the empirical evidence does not support the use of ImPACT testing for determining the time of postconcussion return to play.

The authors mention the other used computer tests, but chose to focus on ImPACT because of its wide use; from professional sports all the way down to youth sports.  The over all impression is that the current studies from independent sources Continue reading

Irv Muchnick: UPMC Concussion Scandal Ground Zero

16 Dec

Irv Muchnick writes for BeyondChron and for his website ConcussionInc.net about the concussion issue facing sports today.  What began in WWE wrestling for Irv has migrated to the mainstream sports.  Below is an excerpt from the introductory article about his new e-book titled “UPMC Concussion Scandal Ground Zero”.

Another major North American sport, hockey, now faces its perfect storm with the second and, for all we know permanent, sidelining of its greatest and most athletically artistic star – Sidney Crosby, his generation’s answer to Wayne Gretzky. Had Gretzky, in the 1980s, been disabled long-term or for good by concussions, then the National Hockey League either would be vastly smaller-time today or would not exist at all. It is impossible to calculate the tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars in ticket sales, rights fees, and merchandise revenue that the loss of Crosby might mean for the contemporary NHL.

During the continentally televised Winter Classic game on January 1, 2011, the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Crosby was concussed by a shoulder Continue reading

2011 NFL Concussion Update Week 14

16 Dec

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).

Week 14 set the season high for concussions in 2011; 16.  This is very interesting considering that Week 14 started off last Thursday with the Cleveland Browns fumbling the Colt McCoy injury.  Last time there was a situation “mishandled” – Kris Dielman – the league reported the season low during a week; 3.  Either the McCoy situation put enough attention on the fact that people are watching or there was not enough time to formulate a plan on handling concussions internally (conspiracy theory).  Regardless we will be watching closely this week to see how many are reported.

In 2010 after week 14 there were 127 reported concussions, this season we can can say there is an increase of 8.7 percent to bring the number to 138.  The league is only 16 concussions away from eclipsing the 200 mark for the first time in history (as far as our research shows), that number would encompass the entire season from opening of camp through end of season.  Would 200 mean something significant?  Yes and No.  Continue reading

School Policy Update: Tracey Mayer

15 Dec

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!

I recently met with one of the Vice Principals at Drew’s high school for a non-concussion related matter.  During our conversation, the topic of concussions came up because he is aware of what Drew has gone through, and he was asking how he is doing.  He told me about two female athletes who both suffered fairly significant concussions recently.  He said they were really struggling academically, which was such a perfect opportunity for me to enlighten him about the policies put in place in Prince William County, Virginia.  I sent these policies to the Superintendent Continue reading

ATSNJ Survey

15 Dec

Below is an email from the ATSNJ that I feel needs to be posted to create more dialogue.  New Jersey, the ATSNJ and Eric Nussbaum have done a fine job of leading the way in this issue at the high school level.  Thanks for the note.

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Dustin,

From the Athletic Trainers Society of NJ, completed in November.

NJ was one of the first states to formally pass a concussion law in December of 2010.  Our concussion law accomplished several things.  a) directed our department of Education to develop a model concussion policy and instructed ALL districts to implement a formal concussion policy by September 1, 2011.  b) Mandated concussion education for all licensed athletic trainers in the state.  This makes us the only healthcare profession with mandated continuing education in concussion care, making athletic trainers concussion “experts”.

We had heard that many schools were having some issues formulating/implementing a formal program for their districts.  There were several questions that were not well-defined in the law or model policy put out by the DOE.  Key terms like: “trained in the management of concussion”, “asymptomatic”, “academic accommodations”, specific education and RTP guidelines were all issues that districts needed to consider for their policies.

The ATSNJ put together an online survey and sent it out to our secondary school ATs.  We had 110  secondary schools with an LAT respond to the survey.  (about a 33% return)

We conducted the survey to: a) see how many schools actually were implementing a board approved policy. b) find out if terms were being defined c) find out about consistent issues w/ policies d) determine what source of information schools were using to develop their programs d) determine who was responsible for education, notification, coordination and implementation of actual policy.

The highlights of the results were posted in our release, HERE;

  •     Only 63% of team physicians are “trained in the management of concussions”
  •     9% of respondents do not have a board approved concussion policy.
  •     27% of schools adopted a generic policy.
  •     84% of districts do not define “trained in the management of concussions” in their concussion policy.
  •     51% of districts do not define “asymptomatic” in their concussion policy.
  •     60% of districts do not define specific academic accommodations in their concussion policy.
  •     89% of school policies define “graduated return to play protocol”
  •     100% of districts utilized athletic trainers as the gatekeeper for the concussion management process

We also developed a policy check list that schools and parents could utilize to evaluate each schools policy.  We have posted suggestions for definitions and improving policies on our website, HERE.

We realize that development of a good working policy may take time and a little tweaking.  The ATSNJ wants to be a resource for parents and schools as they develop their individualized policies.

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Feedback is encouraged by commenting below.

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