Nick submitted this article prior to the Bryce Harper wall escapade but it would certainly fall into this opinion piece.
While I didn’t intend to write a post about brain injury in sport, I was inspired to write it based on some events in the NHL playoffs. Since it’s not my point to dissect the danger of the two hits, I won’t spend much time on them. In fact, I’ll just share the links to the Gryba hit on Eller and the Abdelkader hit on Lydman. Seriously, whether I think either of those hits was clean or delivered with malicious intent is not, in any way, the basis or inspiration for this post. What is, is the idea that we – the North American contact sports-loving public – have all but abdicated our right to a free conscience. Whether either hitter was deserving of the suspension they have subsequently received, depends not on the hit they delivered, but on which team you cheer for (or against), or whether or not you like seeing big hits in hockey. It has nothing to do with what happened.
Some people don’t like where the NHL or NFL are heading; the frequency with which penalties are called when a player hits anywhere near an opposing player’s head. I don’t think that either of these two leagues, NHL and NFL, understand the concept of risk and reward. Hard hitting contact sports are so popular because they exhibit risk in a raw form. That’s probably why some/many of the athletes who make it to the highest levels get into the types of trouble they do. We watch news about multi-millionaire athletes who crash Porsches or who get arrested, and we may think “why would someone with so much to lose risk so much?” However, the athletes actually made logical (that doesn’t necessarily mean good) decisions. They do what all of us do before making most decisions. They, however briefly, look at their risk/reward histories plus their confidence Continue reading
Concussions have gained so much attention that the news is almost inundated with story-after-story of occurrences, recovery, litigation and people trying to mitigate the injury. There seems to be a shortage of press clipping and stories on how to handle this injury. More often I have witnessed stories downplaying the injury or the oft cited “Heads Up Football“.
The former, downplaying the injury itself, is not a good thing it is exactly what put us in the spot we are in now. Patrick Hruby also took note of this while reading an article from Andrew Wagaman in the Missourian;
Still, when it comes to the single most head-scratching public statement I’ve seen regarding brain trauma and football, University of Missouri neuropsychologist Thomas Martin takes the pole position. Hands-down. In a piece about youth football and cognitive risks published this week in the Columbia Missourian, Martin compares brain damage to … knee injuries[...]
This blew my mind. I had to read it twice. And then a half-dozen more times. It still blows my mind as I’m typing this. Here’s why people react differently to brain and knee injuries, and why football is in a world of potential trouble: because the potential harm resulting from a brain injury is nothing like that resulting from a knee injury.
If you read Hruby’s article you will see he makes a strong case for this analogy being utterly false; Continue reading
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
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…
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 Athletes, via 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
As much as I can, I read about and watch professional contact sports. I also read, and have read, a lot about the financial crisis; more specifically, what led to it. Naturally, since I was brain injured in 2003, I have become very interested in brain injury. Hence this blog. I have also taken a bigger picture view of almost everything and, influenced by many books I’ve read, notably Collapse by Jared Diamond, I’ve been noticing similarities between different situations and events in society. Not connections or links. Similarities in our perception. They make sense to me – that’s why I thought of them. They’re not perfect or identical, they’re similar, the theme is the same. I see the same prevailing theme in the lead up to the financial crisis as we have seen in the current concussion/brain injury issue in professional contact sports.
For the purposes of this post, I’ve picked two themes that I think run through both situations; “arrogance” and “wishful thinking”. It was arrogance on the part of banks who thought they could make the market do what they want, creating financial instruments (and fitting mortgages into these securitized instruments) that would generate big short-term profits, ignoring the long-term consequences. The bankers had to sell/lend these instruments/mortgages to someone. Whether the buyers/borrowers were deceived or not is not what this post is about. The buyers/borrowers of these financial instruments ended up losing a lot.
The banks are like the teams, Continue reading
So at 3:15pm EST the NFLPA will hold a news conference to discuss some “goings on”; the biggest nugget in this presser will be the announcement of a 100 million grant for Harvard over 10 years to study them. All aspects of player health is the word I seem to be getting. Which is good, because for a long time the former player has been neglected and has led to current and future players taking risks their bodies will not be able to cash in down the road. I believe you can catch it live on YouTube as well, perhaps someone can provide the link in the comments…
In other NFLPA news, Deadspin and Barry Petchesky wrote about how players are overwhelmingly disenfranchised with the medical care they receive as a big-bad NFL player;
An NFLPA study, the results of which were obtained by the Washington Post, finds that the vast majority of players have serious doubts about the care they’re provided.
The NFLPA asked its players to gauge on a one to five scale how much they trust their team’s medical staff. Seventy-eight percent of respondents said five, meaning they’re not satisfied at all. An additional 15 percent said four, and just three percent responded to the question with a one or a two.
“The most troubling aspect of the survey for me is that lack of belief that the doctors are treating them for their players own health, safety and wellness reasons,” DeMaurice Smith said.
Perhaps this is why the NFL is entrusting the elite Harvard to study such things and happenings to players over a long-term time frame. Petchesky also takes part of the article to touch on the conflict of interest (COI) that is VERY rampant on the NFL sidelines concerning medical care. If you have followed and read here long enough you will know it is something that we have been harping on for over two-year and one of our illustrious commentators, Don Brady, has written a dissertation that includes this problem.
Simple facts are that the team athletic trainers are paid by the team, not the players, and in a majority of NFL clubs the “team doctor” is actually paying for the privilege. In a business model, it would appear – in my humble opinion – that the teams are making sure their priorities are met when it comes to injuries. NOW HOLD ON… There are some very outstanding athletic trainers and doctors that roam the hallowed sidelines of the National Football League, and they are VERY VERY VERY good at what they do, but the appearance – TO THE ACTUAL PLAYERS – is that their medical care may not be in their best interest.
I am not throwing anyone under the bus here, I am merely Continue reading
If you paid attention yesterday you saw that a very preliminary study was unveiled about identification of tau proteins in the brain. This is significant on two fronts
- up until now this has been non-existent with current imaging technology
- tau is the #1 culprit in chronic traumatic encephalopathy
If, in fact, this PET scan can find and map out the tau in living brains this would be a “watershed” moment in the treatment of CTE. This would be because we have not been able to treat CTE, the only way to find CTE is via a posthumous examination.
I believe this is very exciting, but remember like all things in life, caution is needed – the study was only five former NFL’ers and to fully confirm the information gathered the researchers could be waiting a long time, hopefully.
A quick side note here, Dr. Bennett Omalu is a co-author on this study, which isn’t ironic as some have suggested, rather a product of his good work in this area. For those in the “know” surrounding research in concussions and CTE finds this part of the story – Omalu – “interesting”.
What a great start, and I am willing to be scanned if anyone wants to pass that along! I would even write a blog about my experiences with it.
Choosing a sport/activity for your child can be difficult – it shouldn’t be initially – as they progress in age and skill level. Some believe there are factors that come into play when beginning to “specialize”, including injury risk; this is true. However, our current culture is making the sporting issue way more difficult than it needs to be.
I may not be the best parent, certainly I’m not the first to accomplish this feat, but I do try to be A PARENT and not a friend. When it comes to sports I let my children choose what they want to play. My son is now 7, getting ready to get neck-deep in sport and the culture of sports. He has shown some above average skills in a few sports, and loves one sport; however I will not force him to be exclusive, nor will I be crushed if he chooses not to play. I will encourage him and my other kids to play MULTIPLE sports and do multiple things, for their entire life.
Alas, there are some families that are weighing the issue of choosing, say football over soccer, or vice versa; tennis or hoop, etc. Injury risk can be a massive component in this decision so getting all the information is best before choosing, just like making informed decisions. When discussing concussions and catastrophic injuries the sports we play do matter.
Mom’s Team has a video from Dr. Lyle Micheli, Director, Division of Sports Medicine at Children’s Hospital Boston, which can be found HERE. It does bring up some good points but Continue reading
Ed Reed was suspended by the NFL for repeat offenses of the leagues mandate on blows to the head. Some former players are taking serious umbrage with this decision by Ray Anderson, NFL Executive VP of Football Operations. Fortunately I had the opportunity to listen to an interview with Anderson on Mike & Mike this morning.
The synopsis, in my opinion, was that the League is now looking at hits to the head and neck as an aggravating offense and will take serious steps to eliminate this type of hit from the game. More striking was Mr. Anderson’s statement (paraphrased) that; we know now that hits to head are not only a problem we know now that they are life altering, he emphasized that the evidence was now clear to this.
Ray Anderson kept hammering home that “times have changed” and hits like Ronnie Lott made and that were common place years back have no place in today’s game. He also mentioned that fines are not working as they had hoped, so other measures will need to be taken, including suspensions.
I really feel that the NFL is playing good lip service to this issue, and really are taking baby-steps to change the culture of football. Now getting on to Continue reading
Last week The Aspen Institute hosted a round table discussion on “Playing Safely: The Future of Youth Football” to address growing concern about the epidemic of concussions on our youth. It should be noted that professional athletes are both more mature (in size and brain development) and are adults who can make informed consent decisions. The issue this panel discussed was for the youth football.
The speaking list was both wide and deep including: DeMaurice Smith, NFLPA, Dr. Gerry Gioa, Chris Nowinski and Dr. Robert Cantu amongst others in attendance;
At the Aspen Ideas Festival in June, a panel featuring concussion experts and former NFL players considered the health safety risks of playing football. Since then, concerns have sharpened, with many parents of young boys saying that tackle football should not start before age 14. At the same time, football also plays a role in addressing the epidemic of physical inactivity. Our roundtable dives deep into the state of football at the youth/community level with a discussion on reforms — and implications on the game up to the professional level.
With awareness beginning to gain traction and definitive research in the area starting to bear fruit this round table Continue reading
Concussions have been on the “front burner” for a few years now, yet not everyone has the clear and consistent message about this injury. There continues to be gaps in how the injury is covered by the media, accepted by the leagues and understood by the general sport loving public. Yesterday was arguably the most high-profile week for concussions in American sport as three well-known quarterbacks exited the game with concussion. Due to the attention that will be given, I am deeming this a “teachable moment” for everyone.
Several opportunities have been presented to get the message correct and out there this year; in week 2 and week 5 there were 12 concussions. Last year, week 11 produced 14 and week 14 had 16 concussions yet not nearly the “attention”. Two seasons ago there was the “watershed” moment of NFL concussions not to mention the 15 concussions in week 16. Yet the message continues to be clouded.
Regardless where you stand on the concussion issue (you should be concerned), particularly in the NFL, it would be a good time to get the basic information out there and link up some further information if you choose to look. I will try to lay this out in the most helpful manner; to the point with as much fact as possible (I will notify when its opinion). I will do it bullet point style;
- FROM CDC: of the roughly 3.6M concussions that go the emergency room in the US, over 50% are due to recreational activities/wheeled sports. Estimates have been made that 30-50% of all concussions are undisclosed or unreported.
- Concussions occur in all sports, the exposure and rate is much higher in: American football, rugby, Aussie Rules, men’s lacrosse, ice hockey.
- Current research/theory suggests Continue reading
I only lead the story that way because this past weekend there have been two “interesting” situations involving potential concussions of football players, with ‘Arizona’ on the jersey.
Yesterday I posted about Matt Scott, University of Arizona QB (Dan Diamond also has a follow-up to his story here) and today after Monday Night Football Larry Fitzgerald of the Arizona Cardinals is under the microscope. I too was watching and was mystified at the handling of the situation. Watching on television you could clearly see a mechanism of injury that would predispose a player to a head injury, then as he rose to his feet – to this highly trained observer – he appeared gazed and “not all there”. Apparently I was not the only one to see it that way;
When he got up from the field picking grass out of his facemask and looking woozy, there were fewer questions about whether it was a dirty play by Brown—it wasn’t—than how much time Fitzgerald would miss due to a possible concussion.[...] Continue reading
A few weeks ago we had ‘Woodsgate’, and in a game where USC was playing we now have ‘Scottgate’. Arizona quarterback Matt Scott took a kick to the head and was immediately witnessed and reported throwing up. Concussions are mainly a subjective injury, meaning we cannot “see” what is going on, however, there are times when a player/person exhibits signs of a traumatic head injury.
It has been my experience as an athletic trainer and one who deeply studies concussions that signs are often the best information we can get as clinicians/health care providers. I have never been around a player that has had overt signs such as: balance disturbance, slurred speech, wandering eyes or VOMITING and not had a concussion.
Oh, Scott was returned to play…
I could and have gone on about this many times (see the ‘Woodsgate’ link above or another Pac-12 team and ‘Lockergate’ a few years back), but I believe Dan Diamond did an excellent piece on this for Forbes;
Congratulations, University of Arizona. Your football team just scored a big win over USC–partly because your quarterback played through an almost-certain concussion.
To be fair, it was your biggest victory in two whole years. And the NCAA’s not going to penalize you, so why protect your player? It’s not like we’ve learned anything about football and head injuries.[...]
By keeping Scott on the field, Arizona had little to lose, other than the game; the NCAA’s concussion policy is toothless and links to some of their head-injury resources don’t even appear to be working on their website. (Try clicking on “Behind the Blue Disk: NCAA’s Approach to Concussions.”)
And despite everything we know about head injuries, the culture of complicity extends to those who cover the sport. I didn’t actually watch the game, but was told that the announcers were blasé about Scott playing through his big hit. The initial write-ups on ESPN and elsewhere didn’t mention the sequence of events; others even celebrated Scott’s toughness. “Arizona Wildcats upset USC Trojans behind Matt Scott’s heart,” wrote SB Nation’s Kevin Zimmerman. Continue reading
I don’t know if many of you were able to watch the USC/Utah football game last night but there was a very disturbing incident that had to deal with a head injury.
I don’t want to pirate the link from SB Nation so CLICK HERE to see the .gif of the hit and aftermath (its important to my commentary). So to me, Woods gets hit in the head, immediately displays a Fencing Response, looks “lifeless” then returns to his feet only to stumble and eventually fall flat on his face – I seriously doubt he was drinking at the moment.
Then, unbelievably this happens;
According to reporters in the press box, Woods was then seen trying to convince USC trainers he’s up for returning to the field immediately. The Trojans took the field in Utes territory with Woods back in — Samantha Steele reported Woods went through a complete concussion test, but is “good to go.”
How in the world does a high level college football medical staff completely miss this? How is he even allowed to return, heck the officials were looking right at him on his face plant. Did I mention that when he got up from the “drunken stooper” he was walking to the wrong bench?
This is not good people… Granted I was not down there to evaluate him, but the signs CLEARLY indicated a head trauma. If you were watching the St. Louis Rams game Quinten Mikell had a similar incident, although he was KO’ed and did not return.
I will be very interested to see what the reasoning was behind putting him back in the game, other than “he is our best player”.
Due out tomorrow, Tuesday, September 18th, is Dr. Robert Cantu’s most recent writing on brain trauma; more specifically the concussion and how it relates to the ‘kids’. Dr. Cantu is THE expert when it comes to concussions, heck his CV is so expansive it would take up like 7 pages on here. The man knows his stuff; collaborating with Mark Hyman I believe he has written a book that is worth the read for everyone interested in this topic. By writing this book they not only address the concussion issue but the “iceberg below the surface” the youth athletes and their care. Obviously the millions that partake in sport and recreation are not privy to the top of the line medical staffs that the professional and high college athletes have at their disposal.
With Dr. Cantu’s wealth of knowledge there was a chance this book could have been written above the audience – so to speak – but after reading it twice I have found it to be perfectly succinct and to the point. There is no beating around the bushes and you definitely get the feeling of where Dr. Cantu stands on this pressing issue. All of that being said there are some points that I disagree with, but remember my favorite Japanese Proverb: “None of us is as smart as all of us.”
The book begins with the most important topic, in my opinion, “what is a concussion?”, delving into the brain and its physiology. Don’t be scared, it is a well written chapter and explains to the layman how and what we feel determines a concussion. Highlighting that section is the explanation of linear and rotational acceleration and why one is way more important than the other. If you have read here enough you will note that the rotational aspect of the traumatic force to the brain bucket is the most troublesome, Cantu agrees. In this chapter Cantu also discusses the term “rest”, and what we are all trying to convey, especially to the youth. Rest is both physical AND cognitive, meaning not using your brain.
The next two chapters deal with collision sports Continue reading
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
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
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
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
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
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
This is my first post since early June and I’ve got no excuse for being delinquent. I guess our unusually warm and sunny summer has made me listless. Nevertheless, I want to write and it’s about time I put excuses (however valid) aside and get back to writing something. It’s not like sports have disappeared this summer! The Olympics (and the media coverage) will undoubtedly come with stories that will encourage me to write. There I go, making an assumption. I shouldn’t do that. I know better.
When I started ConcussionTalk, my plan was for it to be a site where people can discuss their struggles with brain injury, exchange advice on how to deal with common problems or talk about brain injury in sports. (The discussion idea was thwarted by spammers and their ads for prescription drugs, without prescription. Nevertheless, Concussion Talk on Facebook and @concussiontalk on Twitter are there for discussion.) Two years later and the concussion and brain injury issue has become prominent Continue reading
It is about time someone took a proactive step in football. The sport is not the sacred cow everyone thinks it is; football is touchable by the courts and deep pockets, it is “when” not “if” when it comes to disruption of the sport. However Pop Warner football actually took a very bright and forward step in limiting contact for its players;
Pop Warner is limiting contact in practice as part of an effort to reduce players’ risk of concussion. Pop Warner’s medical advisory board made the announcement this week.
Under the new regulations, coaches must limit contact to no more than one-third of their practice time. It also is banning full-speed, head-on blocking or tackling drills in which players line up more than three yards apart. Coaches can have full-speed drills in which players approach each other at an angle but “not straight ahead into each other.” There also should be no head-to-head contact.
HOWEVER!!! (Always seems to be that or a ‘but’ with me)… There still can be contact Continue reading
The research is starting to come in; the problem is that results and conclusions bring more questions that should be answered. Naturally some will look at early evidence and make a 180 degree change on their attitudes about certain things. We are talking about concussions and the research associated with it. Unfortunately there is plenty of anecdotal and observational cases that sear into our memory, this perhaps shape our thought process. Along with that there is gathering evidence that supports some sort of process change in how we handle this particular injury.
The need to make change is upon us, that cannot be debated; what can be debated is how or what the changes should be. I recently read an article where Micky Collins of UPMC said something to the effect of current concussion concern is like a pendulum that has swung all the way to the other side. Although the changes in sports and activities has certainly not taken that full swing the other way, the pendulum is on the way. His feelings, like mine is that there is no evidence to suggest that a full swing to the other side is warranted, rather there needs to be competent and complete understanding of what we are facing. Rather than making full sweeping changes that would be akin to digging up your backyard to rid your self of a mole; when placing traps and poisons and maybe only having to dig up a small section would fix the problem.
There are definitely things we can do as parents, players, coaches, researchers, doctors and concerned people in general to make a dent in the issue. If we find that the changes are not working then taking another aggressive step may be necessary. I guess the reason for the above rant is to reinforce the need for changes, but the right changes. (As I wrote the last sentence I realized how do we know if the changes are the “right” ones; I guess we don’t but certainly what is happening now needs attention).
One of the small changes that can be made is very obvious to me; Continue reading