What In The What?

21 Jan

So I was reading a Houston Chronicle article sent to us titled “Youth football less dangerous than thought” and came away really confused and to be honest questioning not only the agenda of the article but those interviewed, including two doctors, one high-profile doctor in Houston.

The first quote from Dr. Gary Bock that makes me scratch my head:

“We see more catastrophic injuries among cheerleaders than among any group of athletes,” Brock said. “The risk per hour of activity is seven times greater than with other participatory sports. It cracks me up when parents tell me they won’t let their sons play football but then push their daughters into cheerleading.”

This information would fly in the face of any significant injury tracking that has been done, especially the injury surveillance done by R. Dawn Comstock and her peers (2010-11 Original Summary Report).  The work done by this group is for high school athletes, the only data set we have for athletes that young.  Any other data set for “youth”athletes would be incomplete.  So Dr. Bock is either making information up, or has a data set that would be incomplete.  Football has a 3.50 injury rate/1,000 athlete exposures, and cheerleading…  A WHOPPING… 0.59.  Yes that would be roughly a 550% greater riskof ANY injury in football than cheerleading.  Am I calling Dr. Bock a liar, no, I am saying his information is not correct.  Dr. Bock later went on to try and explain that injuries in football and girls soccer were high because more kids played those sports.  That is not correct either based upon quick Google searches about levels of participation in sports by youth.

The next quote I actually found disturbing, this one from Dr. Howard Derman (emphasis mine);

“I’m not saying it’s safer to play football as a child,” said Dr. Howard Derman, co-director of the vanguard Methodist Hospital Concussion Center, “but the plasticity – flexibility, in layman’s terms – in the brain is greater in a child, and it has more room to swell. So things we see in adult football players are slightly less of a concern in children. That’s just a statement of fact.

“What I would recommend is to let your kids play at the pre-school or pre-middle-school level unless they’ve had any kind of seizure issues. The amount of energy (produced in a collision) isn’t that great. But if they experience episodes where they feel dazed, confused or headachy, they should be pulled out immediately and taken to their pediatrician.”

Now I ask ANYONE to please tell me how this is not interpreted as “it is actually safer for youth brains”?  I am dumbfounded by this…  Perhaps we can get an explination from Dr. Derman, but when I searched him I found that Irv Muchnick also found this to be very interesting and Dr. Derman has yet to get back to him, but did take the time to email his concerns.

This is another example of how the awareness issue is a MUST, the message is not consistent and is causing major issues.

6 Responses to “What In The What?”

  1. Michael Hopper January 21, 2012 at 11:31 #

    I am not saying his numbers are correct, but his idea is on that right track. Cheerleading is a dangerous sport and people don’t realize that at all. They think there’s little injury involved and that just isn’t the case. I do think it’s hard to compare any sport to football though!

    • Dustin Fink January 21, 2012 at 19:34 #

      Hopper, I agree on the cheerleading being injury prone. However the stats bear it out, IT CANNOT BE COMPARED TO FOOTBALL.

  2. brokenbrilliant January 21, 2012 at 23:17 #

    “more room to swell” … why doesn’t that reassure me?

  3. Joe Bloggs January 22, 2012 at 09:13 #

    Perhaps Dr. Bock needs to either return to school or explain himself scientifically. Children’s brains change very rapidly to the point that is difficult to establish the rate of change with current instrumentality. Their heads a larger proportionately to their boddy and simple physics implies more forces are generated as the body’s moment is higher. Children believe a helmet is magic protection.

    Typical for an NFL doctor, a lot of blabber with no scientific support to promote a position consistent with bolstering his marketing.

    Many of the problems we discuss can be minimized or reduced if real scientists, not self- promoting hacks, are supported to solve the problems.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Long-term dangers of pediatric concussion/brain injury | Broken Brain – Brilliant Mind - January 22, 2012

    […] The Concussion Blog has another thought-provoking post about an announcement made by Dr. Howard Derman, co-director of the vanguard Methodist Hospital Concussion Center that children’s brains are (apparently?) better able to tolerate the effects of concussion. From what I read — also in the orginal article at Beyond Chron — the plasticity of a kid’s brain, along with its greater amount of room to handle swelling, makes (football-related) concussions “less of a concern” for children. […]

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