Archive | February, 2013

Video Thursday

28 Feb

Here are a couple of videos to tide you over until some time next week!

In the first one we can hear how the military began their concussion management protocol.  Although not enough it was way ahead of the curve on concussion management.

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Here is one that shows a compilation of big hits found on YouTube.  Watch all the football ones and the vast majority are “clean” hits.  Then take into account all the other sports and think back to my mantra here: “The injury of concussion is not the elephant in the room, rather, it is the mismanagement of the concussion that is problem.”  Then tell me you didn’t throw up in your mouth at the last clip…

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Beyond the Cheers Interview Today

27 Feb

I love radio hits, any chance I get to explain my angle as well as spread the necessary information is a blessing.  I have provided some doozy sound bites and probably some head scratching comments; one thing you get – I really hope – is little BS when it come to this information.  The only problem with local radio and most syndicated sports talk is that I get – at the most – ten minutes to get the necessary information out.

Today I will have an opportunity to spend some quality time on the subject.  Dave Furgeson, host of Blog Talk Radio and Beyond the Cheers has invited me to the show today.  Starting at 7pm EST we will be talking concussions for a solid hour – and I’m pumped!

You can listen live by going to Blog Talk Radio or Beyond the Cheers websites and clicking the play button on the “Live Stream” button on the right hand side of the page.  You can get a feel for what the show will be regarding by clicking HERE (live stream also located there).

I believe that Dave will be taking advance questions and live call in/chat questions during the show.  If you have a question for me feel free to send it in and perhaps I will get a chance to answer it.  Dial-in TOLL FREE 1-877-357-2448 in Canada and United States to ask a question or e-mail Dave (dferguson@beyondthecheers.com) in advance.

Also, I would appreciate honest feedback – good or bad – after the show.  An honest discussion on this issue is really the only hope of getting things in a place that is comfortable for everyone.

Aussies Study Concussions in Former Collision Sport Athletes

26 Feb

From Sunday Night down in Australia a story of how research on the brains of former footballers may shake up the sport;

Greg Williams is an AFL legend, and one of the hardest men ever to play the game. In his glittering 14-year career, ‘Diesel’ won a premiership, two Brownlow Medals and was named in the AFL’s Team of the Century. .

Shaun Valentine is another tough bloke: like Williams, he copped countless on field wallopings in his career in rugby league. Williams retired at 34, Valentine at just 26. Both men are now struggling with everyday life as they battle the long-term effects of so many blows to the head during their respective careers. Both men are married with children – and both are facing the biggest challenge of their lives.

In what’s been a world first study here in Australia, the results of tests on retired professional players are revealed, and they will send shockwaves through all the codes.

The video (The price of playing the game) tells the story of Williams and Valentine and gives the results of what they know to this point.  Make sure you click the link above to find it.  You will notice that there is no mention of CTE in the Aussie players – yet when they go to the US for the story CTE is the first thing talked about.  It is understood, that currently most researchers in Australia are not ready to accept CTE as a diagnosis or even its existence in former footballers.  The focus is more on dementia Continue reading

Worth Your Time – Malcolm Gladwell

21 Feb

If you are anywhere near me you might find some time on your hands waiting out the winter weather.  If you are not near me, you should find some time to sit and watch Malcom Gladwell talk about football.  Below is his speech from the University of Pennsylvania on Valentines Day.

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Nick Mercer: Bubble Times – Is it going to pop?

21 Feb

Continuing with my analogy from my last post, “Brain injuries and pro contact sports: Bubble times” , in which I compared the concussion issue in pro sports with the financial crisis, I thought I’d try to complete the comparison without, hopefully, forecasting the end of contact sports, notably the NFL and football in general.

In my previous post I said that fans, teams, and leagues play the same role in the concussion issue as the banks/financial institutions did in the recent financial crisis; interested only in their short-term benefit, making them unintentionally complicit in the looming collapse. Players are like the borrowers; they want to play the sport they love and make lots of money doing it. Consequences be damned. Just like people wanted to buy houses and a bunch of other stuff, not thinking, wishing away the potentially negative long-term consequences. It’s about the looming collapse that I will write.

Since my last post, I have listened to Malcolm Gladwell talk about the undesirable, yet inevitable decline of football. Then I read an article on the Oxford University Press blog Why football cannot last’ discussing Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) – a neurological disorder resulting from repetitive blows to the head. It got me thinking about the optimism shown at the end of my last post – had I not considered the situation fully? Was it simply wishful thinking?

Gladwell makes a convincing case Continue reading

Spots Still Open….

20 Feb

Here is a follow-up on the Gfeller Neurotrauma Symposium that we posted about in December…

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We are very excited to announce our non-academic Keynote Address on Saturday will be presented by Merril Hoge. Merril was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he played until 1993. He led the team in rushing and receiving in four of his first five years, setting a record in his third year for receptions by a running back. He was the Steelers Iron Man of the Year two years in a row (1989 and 1990) and was named to the All-Madden team in 1989. In 1993, Merril went to the Chicago Bears, where he played for one year until he was forced to retire early due to post-concussion syndrome. At the time of his retirement, Merril had the longest consecutive playing streak in the NFL.

The Second Matthew Gfeller Neurotrauma Symposium at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on March 8-9, 2013 is right around the corner. There are a few spots left. We have informed you earlier of some great speakers we have lined up including, but not limited to, Dr. Christopher Giza, Dr. Robert Cantu, Dr. Michael Collins, Dr. Gerry Gioia, and some of our other local, regional, and national colleagues. A final schedule of topics is available on our website. Additional information regarding the event, including a link to register, is available at http://tbicenter.unc.edu (click on “TBI Symposium” in the header). A direct link to register for the meeting is as follows: http://tinyurl.com/c576kdu.

Healthcare Providers & Researchers (PhD, MD, ATC, CAT(C), RN, etc): $175  Continue reading

Daniels Dash: Why it MUST be run

19 Feb

ddtOur last “Outreach” writer, Ashlee Quintero, eloquently wrote about her experiences with concussion issues.  As the Concussion Program Coordinator at UHealth Sports Medicine she is involved in many things, one of which is very dear to her.  It is a 5k run in the honor of Daniel Brett, a South Florida kid that sustained concussions and was not properly treated for a long period of time.  Below is his story and information on Daniel’s Dash (2013 Flyer).  The following was written by his mother, Diana Pilar Brett;

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Daniel’s Story 

dd1On August 24th, 2009, our son Daniel made starting linebacker for Cypress Bay High School’s JV football team.  It was a victory for him and his first major step in actualizing his desire to play in college. It was also his last day ever playing football.

At 5’9”, 160 lbs. he wasn’t big, but he was tough and fearless, and he thought it was the way to be, to one day play for his dream team, the University of Miami Hurricanes.  No pain, no gain.

Daniel began playing football at 11, and never looked back. Tough and versatile, he played offense, defense, and special teams, rarely getting off the field. He loved it, and he was good.  Determined, he did all that was needed: kept in shape, practiced hard, kept up his grades, and never complained. No, he never complained and never told anyone when he was hurt up until August 24th, 2009.  Continue reading

Outreach: Ashlee Quintero

19 Feb

This is the continuation of a new program here at TCB.  Called “Outreach”; the purpose is to publicize the good (we hope the vast majority) and sometimes the not so good of concussion management and experiences across this vast planet.  One thing I realized real quick in Zürich is that the stories of the bad are relatively the same, usually highlighted in the media.  Meanwhile the stories of good are different and helpful and not heard at all.  I am asking our readers to send in stories of your cases (please be mindful identifying specifics) so we can share.  There are vast stories in the comment section but I would like to bring forward as many as possible. 

Ashlee Quintero was a soccer player at the University of Miami in 2009 when she sustained a concussion.  Through this process she decided to become more involved in awareness and education of this injury.  Below is her contribution to The Concussion Blog.

Dog, Cat, and Fish.

The more I am exposed to the public’s reaction to sports concussion (and that’s a lot, I am a youth soccer coach and the Concussion Program Coordinator at UHealth Sports Medicine), the more I realize how far we still have to go with concussion education. Despite the warnings, educational seminars, and the accessibility of concussion information on this little thing called the internet, coaches, youth coaches especially, are more often than not severely misinformed on how to screen who’s taken a hit. My most recent educational presentation really illustrated this need.

I am a youth soccer coach and volunteered to present concussion information to my fellow soccer coaches at our league’s pre-season coaches meeting. While I was speaking on Florida’s new concussion legislation and discussing the ever-difficult sideline evaluation and decision to sit a kid out, I got the inevitable questions, “Well, how do you know if it is a concussion? What’s the tell-tale sign I am looking for?” Before I could vocalize my response to those questions, Continue reading

How Many Concussions Are NBA Players Hiding?

13 Feb

I will make this quick, would love to get some more discussion on this…  If we think awareness and management are getting better, then I give you this wonderfully cited article of shots to the head in the NBA.  Some have resulted in concussions but others are very interesting, especially if you read how the player reacted to the contact.  From Henry Abbot of ESPN.com;

For a “noncontact” sport that allegedly doesn’t have a concussion problem, basketball sure does feature a lot of blows to the head.

A partial list just from this season:

  • October 30, 2012: Dwight Howard gets a flagrant for swinging an elbow at the face of Elton Brand.
  • November 2, 2012: Anthony Davis receives a concussion.
  • November 5, 2012: Tyler Zeller takes a hard elbow from DeAndre Jordan causing a fractured cheek bone and concussion.
  • November 7, 2012: Thomas Robinson is ejected for elbowing Jonas Jerebko in the head.
  • November 28, 2012: Marvin Williams falls hard to the floor, is diagnosed with concussion.
  • December 5, 2012: Thomas Robinson takes an incredibly hard blow to the head from Ed Davis.
  • December 12, 2012: After a flagrant foul from David Lee, LeBron James crashes to floor, hits head.
  • December 17, 2012: Tyson Chandler flagrantly fouls Jeremy Lin in the head.
  • December 17, 2012: Tim Duncan misses plays, dazed by an elbow from Kendrick Perkins.
  • December 17, 2012: Russell Westbrook hits his head on the floor in a scary fall.
  • December 18, 2012: Anthony Davis hits his head again.
  • December 18, 2012: Bradley Beal takes a very scary fall to the court.
  • December 25, 2012: Metta World Peace elbows Steve Novak in the head, Novak undergoes concussion testing.
  • December 26, 2012: Dwight Howard clocks Kenneth Faried in the face.
  • December 31, 2012: Fab Melo is diagnosed with concussion.
  • January 1, 2013: Charlie Villanueva is ejected for an elbow to the head of Isaiah Thomas.
  • January 2, 2013: Festus Ezeli sends Blake Griffin hard to the floor with a flagrant foul.
  • January 4, 2013: Jeremy Lin and Larry Sanders bang heads in bloody fashion.
  • January 4, 2013 Kevin Garnett hits Tyler Hansbrough hard in the face, and is ejected.
  • January 6, 2013: Pau Gasol takes a bloody shot to the nose that is diagnosed as a concussion and causes him to miss five games.
  • January 9, 2013: Carlos Delfino, who had a serious concussion two years ago, takes a hard blow to the head and appears shaken up.
  • January 26, 2013: Shannon Brown clobbers Manu Ginobili and was ejected.
  • January 28, 2013: Nets rookie Tornike Shengalia is recalled from the D-League to be treated for concussion.
  • January 29, 2013: Chris Kaman is out indefinitely with a concussion suffered in practice.
  • February 2, 2013: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is hospitalized with a concussion resulting from colliding with a teammate.
  • February 3, 2013: Metta World Peace is suspended for punching Brandon Knight in the face.
  • February 5, 2013: Larry Sanders collides with a dunking Kenneth Faried in mid-air, hits the back of his head hard on the floor and leaves the game.

Now you might say, this is a physical sport. Who could be alarmed if that physicality involves the head once in a while?

The answer: Medical science.

For the record here is our list of NBA concussions: Continue reading

Concussions: It’s not the injury

6 Feb

I don’t know how to make this much more clear.

And, believe me about 5 minutes after this goes up my twitter and inbox will be jammed full of criticism.

The injury of concussion: abnormal function of the brain after a traumatic event to the body/head (see all signs and symptoms), is not the “problem” we are facing.

The massive issue and “problems” we are facing in this crisis stem from the improper (see poor or none) and mismanagement of concussion and/or mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI).

Removing concussions from sports is nearly impossible, heck any physical activity has the risk of concussion (see my two concussions standing up and hitting my head on an open cabinet).  If everyone would take the focus away from “stopping” concussions and work on a safe, effective, and universal injury management technique (see ACL rehab protocols) for concussions this “problem” would cease to be a problem.

OK, fire away…

Let’s Clear Something Up Here

5 Feb

On Twitter yesterday I commented on the words Jim Nantz spoke on “Face the Nation” regarding concussions (emphasis mine);

“[r]esearch shows that at the college level, a women’s soccer player is two and half times more likely to suffer a concussion than a college football player. I don’t hear anyone saying right now, ‘should we put our daughter in these soccer programs?'”

Huge props to Jason Lisk of bigleadsports, for doing the work of digging to find the information that Nantz used in the interview.  The long and short of Lisk’s adventure was that he could not find a specific connotation of such claims.  The 2007 article he cited in his wirte-up can be found here, Concussions Among United States High School and Collegiate Athletesvia nih.gov.  You can look and see what Lisk and myself see, football concussions occur more than female soccer concussions – except for an anomaly (very small one less 4%) – in college football and female college soccer.  Lisk also notes this was a 2007 study, although ancient in the realm of concussions, it is very solid and worth citing.

A repeat of the above study could not be found and probably should be done, however there are plenty of “concussion incidence” research in the high school sports.  Those can be found by simply going to ‘Google Scholar’ and defining your terms.  Here is a very good one regarding concussions alone, Marar et Al_ Epidemiology of Concussions, where the football vs. girls soccer numbers are; 6.4/3.4 (that is per 10,000 athlete exposures).  This is a 47% increase as compared between the two sports, almost two-time as likely.  More important is that this information was published a year ago, some of the freshest information out there.

Specifically Nantz was using collegiate soccer as his “trump card” in the case for football.  Not only is collegiate soccer a rare occurrence for those playing soccer, it is not nearly as populated as high school and youth soccer, where the concussion problem is WAY lower than football.

Not only was Nantz – and Limbaugh – spewing information that is both hard to find (no source) and outrageous to this author, it is completely irresponsible to even suggest that female soccer is more “dangerous” than football, in terms of concussions.

Here is my diatribe from twitter last night; Continue reading

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