Archive | August, 2012

‘Head Games’ Trailer, see it here

30 Aug

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Panacea: nearly impossible in the concussion realm

30 Aug

Definition of PANACEA: a remedy for all ills or difficulties.  Even though there are many products and claims out there finding a panacea for the concussion issue is impossible at this point.  Recently we have been examining the faulty claims made by companies about how they feel they can solve the concussion issue, mainly in sport.  Realistically it is an exercise in misinformation and even borderline fraud; and the reason why is simple.

Every brain and individual is exactly that; unique.  How can a product or protocol even come close to addressing the billions of people on this planet, let alone the millions that play sport.  Bluntly, the only panacea for mTBI is to live in a bubble and don’t move, seriously, don’t move.

Peter Keating of ESPN has been on the forefront of the concussion issue in the NFL and everywhere else since at least 2007 and as part of the World Wide Leader’s series on concussions he recently wrote what me and other feel is a pure journalistic masterpiece.  Before anyone starts claiming that I am against neurocognitive testing remember that I utilize this platform as well.  The most decisive point I can make is that what we have now at our disposal are just a myriad of tools that can help us do the job.

Let us break down the Keating article a bit here;

Concussions have become big business in the football world. With 1,700 players in the NFL, 66,000 in the college game, 1.1 million in high school and 250,000 more in Pop Warner, athletes and families across the country are eager to find ways to cut the risks of brain injury, whose terrifying consequences regularly tear across the sports pages. And a wave of companies offering diagnostic tools and concussion treatments are just as eager to sell them peace of mind.[...]

There’s just one problem. Many scientists who are unaffiliated with ImPACT don’t think the thing works.

“Through amazing marketing, the ImPACT guys have made their name synonymous with testing,” says William Barr, an associate professor of neurology and psychiatry at New York University and former team neuropsychologist for the New York Jets. “But there’s a growing awareness that ImPACT doesn’t have the science behind it to do what it claims it does.”

Marketing is a huge business, affecting the thoughts and processes of potential customers drive sales, period.  The issue becomes Continue reading

You Make the Call – Comment On This

29 Aug

Is this what Paul Anderson and I have been talking about recently?  The title of the video is “Product Claims to Prevent Concussions”.  I know it is the media making the story, but it is the company that posted and titled the video.  I would like all of you to comment on this;

Guest Post from Chartis

29 Aug

This is another in the guest posts I have received from various sources.  Once again I am not endorsing Chartis, rather providing what I feel is a very good article on the safety of kids in sports.

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Keeping Kids Safe in All Types of Sports

By Dr. William Spangler

 

When you hear about concussions and head injuries in youth sports, football and hockey typically come to mind. Increasingly, coaches, parents and athletes all across the nation have grown increasingly attuned to the risks associated with these sports and the paramount need for safety protocols during both practices and games.

When it comes to non-contact sports, however, the risks for concussions and other injuries are often overlooked. Activities such as cheerleading, gymnastics, swimming, volleyball, and skiing—to name a few—have considerable potential for serious head injuries. In fact, the sport of cheerleading, with its daring stunts and busy, year-round practice schedules, has become the leading cause of catastrophic injury in young female athletes, according to the 29th Annual Report from the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

While cheerleading and other non-contact sports may not require the same level of protective equipment as do football and hockey, it is essential that coaches, family members, and young athletes alike are able to recognize the signs and symptoms of concussions and possess the know-how to respond appropriately should such signs and symptoms occur.

 

Here are some tips to keep in mind when working with youth athletes participating in all kind of sports, including non-contact sports: Continue reading

Balance Assessment: key in detection and rehabilitation

28 Aug

So last night in the 1st quarter of the junior varsity game our team was fielding a punt, the returner bobbled the ball and started to lean forward to recover it.  He was then drilled in the chest/head by two oncoming defenders.  He laid there for a second, and about a second later I was standing over him.

He attempted to sit up but could not muster the energy, nor wherewithal to complete this easy task.  After the routine checking of neck and gross neurological issues it was time to stand him up.  With the aid of me and another coach he was brought to his feet and it was time for his first and most important concussion test, balance assessment.

One nanosecond after the coach and I released stabilization he grabbed me like I was the rock in his world.  FAIL.  As we turned to the sideline he started walking not in the direction we were pointed. FAIL.  I didn’t need sophisticated tests to tell that this player was “possibly” suffering from a concussion.

Gross and fine balance are easily disrupted with any head trauma.  Not only are your bearings in your head messed up, the inner ear is affected, along with vision.  That is why, in my professional opinion, Continue reading

The Fight Within The Fight

27 Aug

As the NFL and its former players do battle in the courts, the NFL is also battling to find out who was/is covering them from an insurance perspective.

The answer is not so simple and really could be the tipping point in the sports concussion issue we are facing today.  The simple reason is this, if insurance companies refuse to indemnify leagues, schools, clubs, etc. for whatever reason related to injury, then how will the get coverage?  If they cannot get coverage then they cannot afford to provide the sport.

The National Football League is seeking coverage from insurers that it says have refused to provide a defense as the league faces hundreds of concussion-related lawsuits from former players—but insurers are claiming they have no duty to indemnify or defend the NFL.The list of defendants in a civil case filed Aug. 15 by the NFL and NFL Properties in California Superior Court includes companies from insurance groups such as Chartis, Chubb, Fireman’s Fund, Travelers, Hartford, OneBeacon, Ace, Allstate, XL, Transatlantic, Crum & Forster and Alterra.

Alterra filed papers with the Supreme Court Continue reading

Fellow Blogger/Activist Gets To Meet With Goodell, et al.

24 Aug

Katherine Price Snedaker of sportscapp.com had a recent opportunity to meet the powers that be of the NFL, including the Commissioner himself, Roger Goodell.  Katherine wrote a blog post recently about the event;

Big name people. I was ready for a first-class PR presentation about how great youth football is and they don’t really need to change… and that is not what I found.

Instead there was heartfelt sincerity by everyone in the room – almost all parents including Dad Goodell and Dad Hallenbeck of youth-sports-playing kids.  And for almost two hours, we talked as just parents… Titles fall away when you share about your children and your fears & hopes for them.

No one has a golden ticket to protect his/her child against a concussion. Despite his paycheck, Goodell cannot buy a better helmet for his child than I can. Despite his sports connections, Hallenbeck cannot protect his kids better than I can my own from a concussion.  We are all vulnerable when it comes to our children and head injuries.  Sadly with concussions, there is truly a level playing field – everyone’s children are potentially at risk on playing fields, playgrounds, gyms, backyards, pools and streets. There is no perfect sport to avoid injury, and there are even concussions in golf and crew (I know of these personally).  And beyond sports, there are concussions in biking, running, horseplay, sledding, climbing trees, backyard fun, etc. We know that the answer is not found in bubble wrapping our kids. There is too much fun and excitement and yummy stuff to be found in the world and especially in sports, so off our children go to the playing fields, the basketball courts, and the baseball diamond.

I truly believe that Mr. Goodell and others are trying to figure out a way, and they are some very smart people, so really it seems it will be a matter of time.  The problem is reform and changing of a game.  Honestly that is not the core problem, rather Continue reading

Sporting News Concussion Series

24 Aug

Over the past week The Sporting News has run a series about concussions; based on a survey of 125 former NFL players.  Granted the series was very informative, it again targets a sport that only shares responsibility in the concussion epidemic.  Staying too focused on one sport will only delay or even overlook the other problems across an active life.

I guess I have been on a kick lately to reinforce that the majority of all concussions do not come from organized sports.  Rather, traumatic brain injury (minor or major) occurs most often in recreational activities: bike riding, horseplay, wheeled activities, pick-up sports, etc.  The massive issue is not the concussion but the miss-identification and mismanagement of the concussion during sports.

Regardless it is worth the time to read all the articles in the series which are:

  • Three about the players and survey (Fog of Football, Am I Next?, Not Worth It)
  • What it means for the game
  • Could the NFL lose every thing
  • Keeping the next generation safer
  • Coaches weigh in

Head Games Premieres In Less Than A Month

24 Aug

You can catch the trailer for this documentary HERE…  Remember this is not a referendum on sports as a whole, rather it is a documentary exposing the risks.  I would like to reaffirm that the injury of concussion is not the issue; the mismanagement of the brain injury is the problem.

Questions in Pittsburgh

22 Aug

The handling of concussions in professional sports have been the easy target of people like me in the past.  The hope was that with more stringent safeguards and protocols that this would not be an issue for much longer.  The NFL has been an easy “whipping boy” because of its high visibility and constant coverage; now 2012 has its first head scratcher.

In the same game that Austin Collie was removed and sustained a possible career threatening concussion a rookie running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers had a run in with a concussion, or so it seemed.  According to Ralph N. Paulk of TribLIVE, Rainey may have been allowed to play with injury, brain injury that is;

Chris Rainey repeatedly shook his head in an effort to clear the cobwebs after getting KO’d by Indianapolis cornerback Jerraud Powers in the first quarter of the Steelers’ 26-24 preseason victory Sunday night.

The rookie running back grudgingly relented to tests after being diagnosed with concussion symptoms by team medical personnel. After struggling to make it to the locker room, the fifth-round pick returned late in the second quarter.

The subjective description of how he went to the locker room added with the mechanism injury (see picture at link) would have been my first clue that the player in question was suffering.  Add into the description by the player and it becomes a “no-brainer’; Continue reading

It’s About Dang Time

21 Aug

Last week the Federal Trade Commission came to a settlement with the company Brain-Pad Inc., to curtail and stop its misleading advertising about concussions.  The details were not readily available but the fact that someone is taking notice makes me smile.  As you may remember I have taken them and others to task about their claims; and have yet to get any formal or coherent response from any company after I ask real questions.

It is about time companies are punished for making outrageous and untrue claims in the concussion area.  I am all for innovation and invention; that is where our solutions will come from.  In the area of concussion companies can prey on the less informed general public to shape their product.  While some products “claim” that they do not promote concussion prevention they feed emails and media enough information about its “possible” properties that a leap is natural.  Heck some companies use “research” to tout claims; the problem with Continue reading

Rugby Union to Install New Concussion Rule

21 Aug

As part of the new rules in Premiership Rugby the installation of a “concussion bin” will begin September 1st.  Union and the sport of rugby took some criticism when recently played matches included some players that seemed to be dazed or even incapacitated after a hard knock.  Because of this the new rule was created;

If a team doctor or referee suspects that a player may have suffered concussion during an Aviva Premiership match, that player will be required to leave the field for five minutes to undergo cognitive tests.

If that initial suspicion is confirmed in a pitch-side assessment, the concussed player will not be allowed to return and the temporary substitution will be made a permanent one.

Not only does the team medical official have the ability to have the player removed the referee can be more aggressive in getting a player off the field.  The hope is that this will catch more players that have suffered a concussion and make sure they are removed, but if you remember the NHL tried this at the end of the 10-11 season and it was basically abandoned the following year.

Not only do I think this is a productive idea, but it is one that should be adopted by the sports that have limited substitutions, such as soccer and Aussie Rules.  Five minutes are sufficient to get the job done, but more time would be better.  Alas, this is a step in the right direction.

College Football Career Over Before It Begins

21 Aug

What if you played and dedicated yourself to something that was about to pan out and never became a reality?  What if you set your sights on an ultimate goal and had it taken away from you?  Now what if that could have been staved off, by proper attention to detail and injury?

The last question is hypothetical, but it could be used in the case of Purdue recruit Mike Lee, who will never play due to concussions;

Lee played in one game last season but suffered a concussion in spring practice. The native of North Braddock, Pa., continues to deal with symptoms from the concussion.

Hope said both players will remain on scholarship, but will assume non-playing roles within the program. The scholarships won’t count against the maximum 85 allowed by the NCAA.

“There’s a master plan any time a guy is injured and no longer can participate in the sport,” Hope said. “There will be a couple more (scholarship) spots that will open up that we’ll have to fill.”

Although the article does not say, one can assume due to the nature of the sport the concussion Lee had in Spring probably was not his first.  It is tough to be a college recruit for any sport, but football may be the toughest.  After all the teams are looking for the best Continue reading

Jane Leavy’s Article on Ann McKee

20 Aug

In the category of must read, this piece on Grantland by Jane Leavy is one the mouth-breathing, booger-eating, Neanderthal types who thing science is ruining the game, should become acquainted with (if they can even read).  Dr. McKee and people like me are not trying to take away the sports you love.  In fact we are trying to save them, football included.

Dr. McKee is a fan, just like most of us;

Every football Sunday, she parks herself in front of the TV in her authentic Packers foam Cheesehead ($17.95 at packersproshop.com) and Rodgers’s no. 12 jersey and prays that none of the men on the field end up on a dissection table. To date, she has found ravages of CTE, the neurodegenerative brain disease that has become her life’s work, in over 70 athletes, nearly 80 percent of those she has examined. Among them: 18 of the 19 NFL players she has autopsied; three NHL enforcers; and a boy just 17 years old. McKee, who received $1 million in funding from the VA as well as a home for her lab, has also documented evidence of CTE in combat veterans exposed to roadside bombs.1

“The coolest thing about Ann is she spends all day doing autopsies on NFL players and can’t wait for the weekend to put on her Packer sweatshirt and climb into bed with a big bag of popcorn and a beer,” says Gay Culverhouse, former president of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who now advocates on behalf of former players.

“Well, I don’t usually do it in my bed,” McKee says.

Dr. McKee relishes her job, no matter how anyone sees it; Continue reading

Concussion Awareness Helping Change Attitudes

20 Aug

I have stated from day one, that simple awareness of what a concussion is and how it should be handled will help with the epidemic and looming issues in all sports.  Football is the easy target but concussions come from all walks of life, mainly bike riding and wheeled activities like skateboarding.  Awareness is spreading, and along with that there will be changes to the things we enjoy.  They should not be taken away, but to prevent someone from doing that proactive steps must be taken.

Mike Cardillo of ctpost.com wrote an article about such culture change in his neck of the woods, Connecticut;

“There’s always been a culture of football about playing through injury,” Coyne said earlier this summer at a concussion awareness night in Westport. “It doesn’t seem like a real injury, like an ACL tear, so it doesn’t seem important.”

Across the board, only a few years after Coyne last played a down, attitudes toward concussions and how they pertain to the sport of football have changed, if not revolutionized.

And more changes are needed, if we are to stave of those that want to bubble wrap our kids.  The article explained the Pop Warner rule changes with practice, a good first step in my opinion, but there is more to be done without harming the game, as Chris Nowinski stated in the article;

“The way we were playing in the past, a few years ago, I wouldn’t expose any child to where you’re hitting three, four days a week, drills that never should be done with coaches who aren’t trained for concussions. That was the Wild West,” he said. “Now if we truly commit to attacking all the risk factors, which does include assessment and management, then it remains to be seen if it’s safe enough. Then it becomes a personal decision for the parents to make.”

And with that, the injury of concussion is not the elephant in the room, Continue reading

It’s Been Awhile…

20 Aug

Thanks for sticking with The Concussion Blog, I know it has been over a week (almost two) since I last posted.  I am sure you don’t want to read a blabbering sob story, well you are going to get my story.  When I began this blog I found it very “therapeutic” to write about what is going on, and over time you the reader have seemed to enjoy the content.  I always have been very strident in making sure there was fresh information out there; if nothing else to write my feelings.  Over the past 10 days or so I have missed the opportunity to “press” and express my opinion.  Thanks to others out there you have been able to keep up with some current information, but I am back for the foreseeable future!…  With the occasional hiatus…

Where have I been, that is simple, football two-a-days began on the 8th and that took a majority of my time however there was more, A LOT MORE, going on behind the scenes.  It seemed I was in a groove after last weekend but my world shook with some inconvenient timing and predicaments.

Early last week I was in deep discussions Continue reading

Getting Hot Out There: time to prepare

9 Aug

This post originally ran on June 29th…

Did you know all heat related deaths are preventable, 100% of them.  Meaning every person that dies from heat illness could have been saved with some easy steps, Occam’s Razor is quite often applicable.  The Korey Stringer Institute sole mission is to prevent sudden death in sports, especially as it relates to exertional heat stroke (the condition that took his life).

Heat is part of the fall and sometimes spring sporting seasons, but you should also know that heat illness can fell any time, even in the indoors during the winter months (see wrestling).  With that disclaimer out-of-the-way it is time to remind everyone to begin preparations for the upcoming season of sports.

With a large portion of the nation dealing with sweltering heat these next few days (guess it was 108 in St. Louis yesterday) remember the possibility exists that our youth will be participating in these conditions.  To prevent heat illness it begins with the individual preparing for the weather.  Hydration, and not just 3 sodas the day before, we are talking nearly a gallon of water in a 24 hour period.  The other very basic way to stem off heat illness is to simply not practice when the temps and humidity are absurd; if possible early morning or late evening times would be best if practice MUST go on that day.

Every sport will be different in terms of a threshold for discontinuation of practice; soccer players are in shorts and loose-fitting tops, baseball/softball players have a dugout to rest in, where as football is all padded up with a helmet in tight uniforms.  Naturally football would be of the greatest concern, and it is.

Once the simplest forms of prevention are in place – hydration and common sense – Continue reading

Official Study of NFL Concussions

8 Aug

It appears that there is an official study on concussions and injuries in the NFL.  This data came from the internal injury surveillance  of the league and is uncertain who sponsored it, however, this is our first chance to see “accurate” numbers relating to concussions in the league.  Edgeworth Economics did the study and was told that there were 266 concussions in 2011 (we found 217) and 270 concussions in 2010 (182) showing a slight overall decline;

The number of reported concussions had been on the rise since 2006.

“As an economist and a statistician, I can’t tell you whether that’s due to increased recognition of concussions versus an increased incidence of them,” David said. “It’s probably both. But nonetheless, you see a pretty significant (trend) over the last five years, roughly. However, in 2011, we saw a decrease — a slight decrease in the total number of concussions, the first time that’s happened in several years. And that is entirely due to a reduced number of concussions during kickoffs.”

The purpose of the study was to determine the effectiveness of the kickoff rule change.  As we noted here there was a decline in concussions on the kick off last year – although we could only discover single digits – where as the study had much more information;

There were 266 overall concussions reported in 2011, a decrease from the 270 reported in 2010. The number of concussions that occurred on kickoffs dropped from 35 in 2010 to 20 last season.

Yes, the kickoff rule change helped and looks like it helped the overall number as well.  We have opined here that 2011 could be the “high water” mark for concussions in the NFL.  We also have been extremely critical of the NFL for “hiding” their numbers, it appears that is changing.  It will also be very interesting to see if the reduced contact days also drives that number down.

It is good to see the league “opening the books” on the concussion injury, although it is curious it comes at a time when there is a plateau or decline.  I guess it is better late than never.  With these changes and decline we should see a trickle down effect as college and high school will be more accepting of “game” changes.

 

Banning of football as a whole is NOT the answer

7 Aug

The goal of a writer is to bring eyes to their information/opinion to draw eyes for advertisers who in turn pay for the publishing of the article – in a very cut and dry manner.  With the troubles facing sports, particularly football, more and more articles have hit the interweb; often the most cited are those that trample on our beliefs of sport.

George Will penned an article that did just that as he opined that football should be ended because it cannot be “fixed”, a growing belief amongst some.  I am here to tell you that although football has its issues and concussions are high on the list, this is the case with many other sports; hockey, lacrosse and soccer being some off the top of my head.  Will does have some salient points;

After 20 years of caring for her husband, Easterling’s widow is one of more than 3,000 plaintiffs — former players, spouses, relatives — in a lawsuit charging that the NFL inadequately acted on knowledge it had, or should have had, about hazards such as CTE. We are, however, rapidly reaching the point where playing football is like smoking cigarettes: The risks are well-known.[...]

Furthermore, in this age of bubble-wrapped children, when parents put helmets on wee tricycle riders, many children are going to be steered away from youth football, diverting the flow of talent to the benefit of other sports.[...]

The lawsuits have nothing to do with the risk of injury, they have everything to do with whether the league knew about the long-term risks during that time and did not disclose that to the players.  The injury of concussion can occur outside of sports, in fact the majority of concussions come from recreational activities like: skate boarding, back yard touch football, playgrounds, bike riding and driving.  Even if the lawsuits are a reason for Continue reading

Reflection on the Weekend

6 Aug

While away on a family vacation I don’t get to the researching/data mining I usually do, inevitability there are events and happenings that occur that get push back in coverage.  The nice thing is that the media and other sources are doing a wonderful job of highlighting the issues that come about.  There are a few instances of concussion related news that I would like to now opine on.

First and most concerning was the Olympic woman’s soccer match between the United States and New Zealand and this;

Not only can you clearly see the keeper get hit in the head and having a violent deceleration, then her head smashes the turf, not only that she was CLEARLY unconscious after this hit, yet she was allowed to continue.  If the governing bodies of sports want to get a handle on the concussion issue then cases like this must be handled with supreme independence and a player should be removed.  Take a look at this picture and tell me she should have continued…

I will be as obnoxious and abrasive as possible with this next statement:

IF ANY PLAYER IS KNOCKED OUT FOR WHAT EVER REASON THEY SHOULD BE REMOVED FROM ACTIVITY, PERIOD.  SCORE AND CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD NOT HAVE A BEARING ON THIS DECISION.  SAID PLAYER SHOULD NOT RETURN TO ACTIVITY UNTIL CLEARED BY A PHYSICIAN AFTER AT LEAST 24 HOURS.

We are talking about a disruption of the brains activities so “gross” Continue reading

Study Showing Evidence of Cumulative Effects

3 Aug

Steve Broglio, PhD is the lead author on a new research study that shows evidence of the cumulative effects of concussions.  It may not be a “gross” outwardly as some are envisioning, rather the study does indicate that multiple traumas to the brain – be it subconcussive or concussive – will produce a decline in brain function.

Broglio and his group looked at 162 “control” subjects and 62 subjects that had a history of concussion; as stated above the results were actually subtle in nature, none the less they were only noted in the group with previous head injury.  Using balance and walking assessments along with brain electricity studies this research is the foundation for the “hit count” proposals.  Is there a threshold for “aging” of the brain?  It is number of exposures or the relative level of exposure that will be the catalyst?

Here is the full abstract;

Concussion has been viewed historically as a transient injury with no evidence supporting the existence of persistent effects. However, our recent work demonstrates electroencephalographic and motor control changes in otherwise healthy individuals with a history of concussion. We therefore hypothesize that concussive and subconcussive head impacts set about a cascade of pathological events that accelerates declines in cognitive function typically associated with the aging process.

I will be interested to see comments about this study, I have put in a request to talk to Broglio as well.

Finally Addressing Adcademic Concerns of Concussions

3 Aug

This one is a very good seminar for anyone who deals with school aged children and once again it is free.  This event will be put on by the CDC and the most poignant part is the academic and return to school concerns when dealing with the brain injury known as concussion.  It has been my opinion that not only have the parents and schools underplayed the seriousness of returning to school with a brain injury, the medical community has been behind as well.  Brain health will need to be though of as physical health going forward.  Not only is stressing the cognitive parts of the brain while injured a problem, the most overlooked portion of school is something Don Brady has been the champion of, the emotional wellness of the brain/individual.

Get yourself registered, set a reminder on your phone (just tell Siri) and take notes; parents especially.

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CDC Heads Up to Schools Webinar for Schools Professionals

Tuesday, August 7, 2012 at 2:00 – 3:00 PM EST.

Click below to register for a FREE CDC webinar on concussion in schools (K-12): https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3354303556335213312

This webinar will help you:  

  • Learn the signs, symptoms and effects of a concussion on students K-12.
  • Know how to prevent and respond to concussions in school.
  • Explore school-wide approaches to addressing concussion.
  • Learn ways to support individual students returning to school after a concussion.

Invited presenters include:

 

Julie Haarbauer-Krupa, Ph.D.

B.R.A.I.N. Program Coordinator

Children’s Health Care of Atlanta

 

Karen McAvoy, Psy.D

Director of the R.E.A.P Program

Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children

 

CDC is dedicated to improving the lives of Americans and keeping them safe from injury. Through the Heads Up program, CDC provides information on preventing, recognizing, and responding to concussion, and more serious brain injuries.

For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/Concussion.

Echoing “Concussion Prevention” Concerns

2 Aug

On Paul Anderson’s (@PaulD_Anderson) NFL Concussion Litigation blog a guest post went up the other day taking on the ever-growing concern of concussion “prevention” products.  The article was written by Andrew M. Belcher, MD (@the_jockdoc) and plainly explains it is buyer beware, as concussions are more than protection for the skull;

So then what we really need to prevent concussions are seatbelts and airbags for our brains inside of our skulls.  Here’s one more example to make it clear.  Shaken baby syndrome is caused by shaking a screaming baby back and forth to make them stop crying.  Even though their head never hits anything, the shaking leads to brain damage.  Would wearing a baby helmet have helped?  Of course not.  So how can a helmet possibly eliminate concussions in football.  It can’t.  Any protective device that claims to prevent concussions in a contact sport is false advertising and may be giving athletes a false sense of security.  How can athletes be well informed of the risks they are taking when the advertising by equipment manufacturers minimizes the risks?  The only way to prevent concussions is not to step on the field in the first place.

Very succinct and spot on, concussions are not mainly caused by linear forces to the skull; they are created by acceleration and deceleration of the brain INSIDE the skull.  Products that claim that they prevent concussions are borderline fraudulent, as there is NO study available that any current product can prevent concussions.  Sure, some can attenuate certain (see linear) forces to the head region, but other than a HANS device there is nothing in sport that limits the acceleration/deceleration or rotational properties of brain trauma.  In fact, increasing the weight of the head can increase mass, therefore by the laws of Physic’s, increase the overall force.

There is no guessing where I stand on the claims put forth by Continue reading

Iowa Here I Come!

2 Aug

Look out Iowa…  I am headed to the Quad Cities area of Iowa to be a key-note speaker today at a seminar about concussions in adolescents (see high school aged).  I would like to thank the hard-working Athletic Trainer Jason Viel of Pleasant Valley High School for setting up the program and thinking of me.

‘Head Games’ Film Set for Release

2 Aug

Apparently it is press release day here at The Concussion Blog, ha.  The film that used Chris Nowinski’s “Head Games” as its base will be released September 21st for the general public.  Although I was invited to the premiere in Chicago I could not make it, so I too am looking forward to what Steve James has directed.  Regardless of who produced this work it has the potential to provide the needed awareness about the negative culture of sports in regards to concussions.  Here it the official press release;

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Award-winning filmmaker tackles hot-button issue of concussions in sport

Contact:
Alex Klenert, Prodigy PR, ak@prodigypublicrelations.com, 310-857-2020 x141
Dylan Marchetti, Variance Films, dylan@variancefilms.com, 212-537-6769 x1

New York, July 31, 2012 – Variance Films announced today that it has acquired theatrical rights to HEAD GAMES, the new documentary feature from acclaimed director Steve James (“Hoop Dreams,” The Interrupters”) that takes a nuanced, intelligent look at the concussion crisis in American sports.  The film will begin its theatrical run on September 21st in select cities and expand throughout top markets in September and October, with select screenings to feature guest speakers and panel discussions.

Additionally, audiences elsewhere will have the opportunity to bring the film to their local theaters using Tugg, a new collective-action web platform that enables individuals to choose the films that play in their local theaters.

HEAD GAMES contrasts eye-opening evidence and cutting-edge science on head trauma from the nation’s leading medical experts with first-hand accounts from athletes, coaches, and parents who Continue reading

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