Archive | NCAA Concussions RSS feed for this section

How Do We Know If Anything Is Working at NCAA Level?

14 Jan

In the NFL we have publicly disclosed injuries, including concussions, so we can (and have) track the numbers that are reported to see if there is a change in outcomes.  Certainly there are flaws with the reporting system as we have discussed many times but at least we can get a set of consistent numbers (we hope) from year to year.

But what about the NCAA, where there are many more players: 126 FBS teams at about 80 players per team means 10,080 players in FBS alone.  Or, about 8,387 more football players than the NFL – this number does not include FCS, DII, DIII or even the NAIA or Juco football schools.

Timothy Bella of Al Jazeera America (I guess the NSA has my IP address now and yours too if you go to links, ha) has produced a great article on this problem of tracking concussions at the NCAA level;

For this college football season, America Tonight has been tracking all the publicly reported concussions in the 10 FBS conferences and the independent teams. Auburn was one of 42 FBS programs to not publicly report a single concussion this season, accounting for exactly one-third of the 126 FBS programs. The group includes Rose Bowl and Big Ten champion Michigan State and Big 12 champion Baylor.

In fact, in the 10 conferences and the independents, coaching staffs and media outlets only reported 192 concussions at all among more than 10,000 players, according to data compiled from early August 2013 to Dec. 27, 2013, in the America Tonight Concussion Map. That’s an average of fewer than two reported concussions per team.

That number is STRIKINGLY low – due to reasons outlined in article – but 192 concussions is less than the 217 concussions we found in the NFL from preseason through the end of the regular season.

I provided many thoughts to Bella about why this may be occurring, including the teams with higher press presence Continue reading

About these ads

10/17 Quick Hits

17 Oct

HockeyNow question and answer with Charles Tator (one of the best);

HN: What have we learned about concussions that maybe we didn’t know a decade or two or three ago?

CT: There are about 30 things that we didn’t know just 10 years ago. For example, the adolescent brain seems to be most susceptible to concussion and takes the longest to recover. It’s rather unfortunate because that age is when kids are now big enough and fast enough that they are getting concussions—it’s also the risk-taking age.

Also, women appear to concuss more easily than men; and that holds for sports like hockey and basketball. We’re not really sure why that is but that’s what the data is telling us.

Unfortunately, there are still a lot of unanswered questions about concussions. We still don’t know the exact mechanism—although, rotational acceleration is more important in producing concussions than linear acceleration. And also, we don’t know how to detect a concussion on imaging techniques; for example, there is no telltale sign on a CAT Scan. And the MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is still not showing us the effects of concussion. We are hopeful that some newer sequences of MRI will be more informative.

A concussion is still a clinical diagnosis, meaning that it depends on a knowledgeable examiner, like a physician, as well as a compliant patient. And not all patients are compliant; there are still people who want to hide the symptoms and signs of a concussion.

HN: How important is recognition of a concussion?

CT: All you have to do is look at Sidney Crosby—the fact that he got his first concussion on a Monday and it wasn’t recognized; and then on the Wednesday, he got his second concussion and it took a year to recover. It’s important to sit out until you’ve fully recovered and follow the six-step process of gradually incorporating more physical activity, so that your brain is ready to take another hit. If you run around the block and get a headache and get dizzy, that means your brain is not ready for the next hit and then you’re subject to the serious consequences of another concussion because your brain has not recovered fully from the first one.

Ex-ESPN exec says “Stop denying brain damage“;  Continue reading

What Does the Derek Sheely Case Foreshadow?

3 Sep

Inherent risks, of life and sport, are a constant issue none more controversial than concussions.  The truth of the matter is that concussions will occur in life without sports so playing: hockey, lacrosse, basketball, baseball, water polo or any sport comes with differing amount of risks/chances of concussion.  By playing those sports we should understand those risks and be willing to accept the chances of injury, particularly concussion.

As we have stated close to eleventybillion times now; the actual injury of concussion is not the issue of this crisis, rather it is the mismanagement of the injury that is the problem.  In other words it’s not the sports fault for concussions, it the people’s fault for not taking this brain injury serious.  Even worse, it is people in positions of power that have caused many to be “mishandled” after injury, bringing us to where we are today.

This is where Derek Sheely comes in; this young man died on a football field in Maryland as a result of head trauma and the purported facts in the case are very scary;

  • Four hour contact practice
  • “Preseason practices at Frostburg served more as a gladiatorial thrill for the coaches than learning sessions for the players… Practice involved virtually unlimited, full-contact, helmet-to-helmet collisions.”
  • Named coach in lawsuit explicitly told players to lead with their head and use their hat when tackling
  • Apparent lack of preventative medical care by an athletic trainer
  • And this quote: “Stop your bitching and moaning and quit acting like a pussy and get back out there Sheely!”

We have yet to have full discovery in this case and most likely there will be a settlement Continue reading

There Is More Than Football

26 Aug

I know we all think of late August and early September as football season, but there are other sports out there that deserve some attention as well.  I do empathize with the football coaches that constantly tell me we are “picking” on that particular sport – we are not.  It is tough to overlook a sport that garners the most eyes and advertising around here.  That being said there are other sports either just starting, gearing up or in the final stretch that deserve note.

Baseball is grinding to the playoff push and under the radar is the fact that catchers are finally being honest about their heads.  Many have hit the DL this year for concussions, most recently Joe Mauer of the Minnesota Twins.  Certainly there have been others but it is worth noting that late in the season, seeing catchers develop concussions should not, nor will it be a surprise in the future.

Summer heat does not make one immediately think of ice rinks and hockey pucks, but Canada’s most popular sport will soon be getting into camp to prepare for the upcoming season.  When the puck does finally drop in early October (Go Avs!) the NHL looks to improve on their better handle on concussions.  But, the bigger reason for preparing for the hockey season is the upcoming Ice Hockey Summit II, held at the Mayo ClinicContinue reading

Old Coach Point of View

26 Jul

What I believe was at the same conference as the previous video by Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher; former coach Lloyd Carr speaks about concussions;

Coach Carr was the head football coach at the University of Michigan from 1995 – 2007, it is worth listening to this perspective.  Although coaches can be to blame for much of the “complaining” when it comes to the necessary changes in any sport as it relates to concussion, their input is very worthy.

We can sit in our offices and come up with “dream” ideas, but these are the men/women that must implement all the “bright” ideas.  There is something to be said for those that have “been-there-done-that”, so as long as it is both constructive and respectful.  I believe that Coach Carr did a good job of this.

A quick side note; this was in 2011 and he spoke of leading with the head, now the NCAA and NFL will possibly eject players for leading with the crown of the helmet (a very hot debate, and will be once the season begins).

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

Matt Chaney – Tireless Worker

18 Jan

SpringGame1984Sideline
If you have been around enough you have seen the stylings of Matt Chaney on this blog, he is someone I call a friend.  In some circles that discounts me as a professional, which is both stupid and dumb.  I don’t always agree with Matt, heck him and I have been known to battle via electronic and phone communications.  However, his opinion is a valuable one – often his work is based in so much fact it makes your head spin as to why some of its missed.  Regardless, Matt has published two recent articles on his blog, for all to consume, here are some excerpts.

Part 1, published January 7th;

Historic football excuses thrive in modern debate over brutality

Lawsuits, criticism explode and officials project blame onto individuals

Old talking points of football apology resonate yet as officials tout anti-concussion measures like trainers along sidelines, new rules for safer play, injury reduction and expert consultation—same type of promises heard from gridiron leaders during the Victorian Era

American football gets lambasted in public for maiming and killing, denounced by an influential movement of critics, and game officials pledge safer play based on their new concepts of prevention, including:

*Qualified trainers and doctors will patrol sidelines.

*State-of-art medical response will treat the rare severe casualties.

*Limits will govern length of practices.

*Injury tracking will cut rates already on decline.

*Coaches will properly train players.

*Every player will undergo medical prescreening.

*Experts will lead safety reform in rulemaking and research.

*Referees and coaches will enforce new rules of experts.

*Players will follow new rules of experts.

Sounds familiar, these steps, a practical recitation of talking points for contemporary “safer football” promoted by the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell, in face of lawsuit frenzy against the league and sport in general, along with festering disgust in the public.

Except the football rhetoric is 119 years old, from 1894, a packaged response during the game’s initial siege against formidable opposition seeking abolishment. Continue reading

Please Explain

6 Nov

It is a common thought that crosses my mind when I see questionable actions around a concussion situation.  Unfortunately I don’t have the power to get the answers, so I basically post them on here for others to see.

This is not the case in Australian Rules Football; if you are team and you receive a “please explain” regarding an injury (mainly concussions) you are probably treading on thin ice.

There is a mechanism in AFL that formally puts teams and doctors on notice when things just don’t add up.  Take for example the handling of a concussion by the North Melbourne Roos;

Interim Kangaroos chief executive Cameron Vale emailed AFL operations manager Adrian Anderson on Monday after the Roos were told to respond to a ”please explain” issued by the league last week.

The Kangaroos have been under investigation over the manner in which they handled Hansen after he received a heavy knock against Essendon in round 20, and also for the way they have responded to AFL investigators Brett Clothier and Abraham Haddad in recent weeks.

The AFL has been unimpressed with the club’s handling of the issue, although the Kangaroos have bristled at suggestions football manager Donald McDonald had influenced the testimony of key figures involved.

The letter is not the first step, rather the end step in a process that allows the medical board of the AFL to investigate how the practices of player protection is put in place.  Is it oversight?  You bet and I feel that the AFL does something much-needed in all professional sports.  Really, it is only applicable to the pros because of the resources, however it could translate to large colleges as well.

In Zurich I spoke to Dr. McCrory about what they do in regards to this, here are the basics; Continue reading

Zurich Day 2… And We Are Live

2 Nov

I have figured out the power situation so I will be trying to update the blog ASAP after each session…  For the time being make sure to follow on Twitter…

==========

1030 CST: Session 7, final session: The Sharp End

First debate between Dr. Cantu (yes) and Dr. Herring (no): is no RTP same day the best management paradigm?  Is keeping a player out one week long enough and is the graduated RTP protocol sufficient…

THERE WILL BE NO RTP on same day in the new statement!!!

Change of direction on Session 7, questions with panel answers, pro-con (if available)

Do 3 concussions end your career?

  • its comedy hour
  • Aubrey – treat each athlete individually
  • Dvorak – it has to be based on timing and complexity of each recovery – case-by-case basis
  • Putukian – if we can’t agree on dx how can we agree on a number
  • Overall theme is it is individualized, not all concussions are the same (Cantu)

Who is best qualified to make the sideline decision?

  • Cantu – multiple members working under a physician can make the call
  • Herring – concerning to him that some information is intrinsic to doctors so need to be careful
  • better question is who best qualified – person with most experience
  • Dvorak – looking at spectrum of games played, doctors are best qualified in most instances, but are they there in all matches?  We should aim all this to the “grass roots” as the professional level there is more than adequate coverage.
    • comedy about football versus american football
  • Ellenbogen – those that know the athletes should be making the decision, maybe a parent in youth sports, or athletic trainers, understanding the patients baseline is important
  • Putukian – balancing act, in a perfect world its a team approach (Athletic Trainer mention), and she says in the US the athletic trainer should be making the decisions on the sidelines…
  • Aubrey – Hockey Canada has a safety person (volunteer) in lieu of an athletic trainer
  • Cantu – brings up possibly training school teachers in concussion
  • Herring – if you are team physician do you need someone else to make the decision if you are on the sideline?  Panel – no

Is there a role for grading concussions?

  • Cantu – not perfect, but informing patient is important about severity and duration of recovery, after the fact
  • McCrory – we have moved from grading, look at the recovery – perhaps look at the SCAT/serial testing
  • Putukian – looking at history is more important than arbitrary “grade”
  • Herring – may help with continual care from one place to another, but again important to understand history

Should we be returning on the same day of concussion?

  • Aubrey – what about the NHL player in the playoffs (rhetorical question)
  • Cantu – no once recognized
  • McCrory – what about the players that clear the SCAT, so no concussion, but you know something is amiss?
  • Putukian – example of hockey player with delayed symptoms
  • McCrory – concussion is often an evolving injury
  • Ellenbogen – it is a traumatic brain injury, is the game worth it?  No.
  • Panel – consensus is NO RTP same day
  • McCrory to Aubrey about playoff example – what about a regular season, and Aubrey is being very honest, and he feels the player push back is greater
  • Ken Dryden from the audience – why are we treating professional athletes different from the youth or non-elite athlete
    • We are starting to move away from that, all athletes should be treated the same

Should there be helmets in woman’s lacrosse and field hockey?

  • Cantu – yes, because of stick and ball causation of concussion
  • Putukian – no, change nature of the game, no reports of intercranial bleeds in women’s lacrosse, weary of unintended consequences (BTW, probably has the most experience with this)
  • Cantu and Putukian discussing this topic
  • Change gears – what about football?
    • Dvorak not in FIFA’s plans to recommend, many reasons including the false security of wearing head gear
  • Audience Q: should we discourage the use of the head bands/head gear
    • Dvorak – your own prerogative but data does not support the use of them as recommendation (Czech goalie wears one)
    • McIntosh – Rules are more important at this time

Should there be age restriction on tackling in American football, heading in soccer and checking in ice hockey?

  • Cantu – his words speak for themselves, youth sports needs to look at how the game is played because of the differences between older
  • McCrory – in Australia you cannot get to the gladiatorial aspect of Aussie Rules until they are “of age” (13 if I heard correctly)
  • Ellenbogen – risk of activity, most concussions via CDC information is from wheeled sports and recreation, does not make sense at this time to him, advise accordingly
  • Cantu – youth sports don’t have the good data, personally he does not believe learning a sport at age 5 will make you elite, it is a genetic disposition in his opinion
  • Putukian – it makes sense to decrease exposure, US Lacrosse has put age 13 on checking, her take on soccer is that there is no data to support this when using proper sized ball and equipment
  • Dvorak – young soccer players learn sport first, and fundamentals of “football” its not “headball”, studies done on heading ball and with study there was no increase in biomarkers they were looking at it.  They don’t force kids to head ball until skills are sufficient.
  • Herring – false warranty?  Arbitrary age is concerning, take head out of the game rather then taking the game away from youth athletes.  The limit to exposure is accurate, but complete removal of the sport may not be necessary.
  • Cantu – sport needs to be safer for younger athletes
  • Aubrey – ice hockey has set limits on age for body checking, research is very important, it will help make decisions

—–

Dr. Jamie Kissick speaking on “From Consensus to Action”

  • Knowledge is power
  • “There is an app for that”
  • Knowledge Translation (KT) Concepts Continue reading

What Is Going On In Arizona?

30 Oct

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

Wildcat QB Puking After Hit, AND PLAYS ON!?!?!?!?

29 Oct

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

Let Us Hear From Woods about “Woodsgate”

10 Oct

TCB follow-up to Robert “Woodsgate” and this is not the first time the PAC-12 has been under the microscope here at TCB, if you recall “Lockergate” a few years back.

There are hundreds if not thousands of hits on any given weekend in football that will result in concussions across the football landscape, many go unnoticed, except by the trained medical staff (mainly athletic trainers); certainly we see a very limited number on national TV.  However last week Robert Woods of USC was drilled in the head while blocking that resulted in OVERT signs of brain trauma.  Before we go further we should define what a concussion is, in its simplest terms:

  • A concussion, at the very base level, is a pathological event that results from forces to the brain that cause disruption of normal brain activity.  These “disruptions” can occur immediately or in a delayed response.  Regardless, any disruption of normal physical, cognitive or emotional behavior would fit this criteria.

The new standard of care for concussions across all levels is that if someone exhibits signs of a concussion they should be removed from play for a proper evaluation.  If there is no one there to do a proper evaluation (see youth and HS levels) then that player may not be returned to the game and cannot return to sport without a medical clearance from a physician.

As I have stated many a time most evaluations on the sideline are either a case of detective work – weeding through the subjective nature of the injury – or not needed because of the overt signs and clinical presentation.  I say this as an expert, one who deals with concussions in sport on almost a daily basis.  Observation is the most trusted source for concussion detection; whether it be observation  Continue reading

Robert “Woodsgate” in Utah

5 Oct

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”.

College Football Concussions

24 Sep

There are times when surveying the injuries of a said sport are handy in discerning a problem or a trend, you see it every week with our data analysis of NFL concussions (also Aussie Rules Football, MLB, NBA and NHL).  One section of sport I learned early on that was difficult – at best – to track were NCAA or lower level concussions.  Not only does HIPAA prevent a lot of that information from coming out, there are so many programs/teams it’s a massive undertaking.

Ask John Gonoude, who attempted this monumental feat last year and was only able to stomach 11 weeks of it before it became an issue.  Then I was sent some articles from Matt Chaney about what has been written about college concussions recently, for a response…  Well you are going to get one.

The first article appeared in the news cycle on September 13th from The Michigan Daily;

After only two weeks of collegiate football, USA Today reported 15 concussions among injured NCAA players. In 2008, the Boston University School of Medicine released a statement linking repeated concussions to Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. Describing CTE as “a progressive degenerative disease of the brain,” the university connected CTE to “the development of memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, paranoid and aggressive behavior, depression, dementia and Parkinsonism.” With thirteen weeks left, the NCAA should take action to reduce the number of concussions and protect players.

The article is good for reporting the issues with concussions, speaking of long-term, but the initial sentence is what is baffling to me.  15 concussions in two weeks, that is absolutely false.  As Chaney opined that should be the number of concussions per team at the current rates.  Heck in week 11 of last year there were 19 alone and the rate of concussions per week in FBS last year through 11 weeks was 16.1/week.  There is no way the NCAA had only 15 concussions through two weeks.

The next article came out last Friday and it was in the BloombergBusinessweek;

Concussions suffered by college football players in games were 26 percent lower last year than seven years earlier, according to a study conducted for the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Continue reading

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

Quick Hits

17 Jul

The Ivy League once again takes proactive steps in regards to concussions.  After reducing contact days in football last year, the league Presidents approved similar changes for lacrosse and soccer;

The league announced Monday that its presidents accepted a series of recommendations made by a committee, including the possibility of suspension for hits to the head. The changes, which also will limit the amount of contact in practice, will take effect this fall for men and women.

The recommendations call for continued emphasis on educational initiatives. Consistent with current protocols, preseason meetings will emphasize learning and recognizing the signs of concussions, as well as the importance of reporting symptoms of concussions.

The Ivy league will next turn its attention on hockey.

I truly appreciate what the Ivy League is doing; non-radial with little to no cost moves that will be reassessed as time goes on.  I don’t know why it takes the smartest schools to make simple changes.  Honestly do you think they were the first to figure out that decreasing exposure will decrease concussions?

==========

Lester Munson of ESPN gives a insiders perspective of the law suits the former NFL players have filed;

The numbers are reaching the point where the litigation now qualifies as “mass tort,” a legal term that has been used to describe litigation on tobacco, asbestos and toxic medications.

The players are also demanding in a separate class action lawsuit that the NFL fund a program of medical monitoring for all former players (even those who did not play enough to qualify for retirement benefits), a program that would provide periodic examinations for early signs of concussion damage. The number of retired NFL players is uncertain, but players’ lawyers and their union estimate that there are at least 20,000 players who Continue reading

Keeler Article

25 May

A very poignant and descriptive article about concussions in the NCAA.  Sean Keeler of Fox Sports penned this article with the perspective of a collegiate athlete and how the machismo of those that play and support cause the biggest issue;

Lazetich is 34 now. An old 34. He suffered seven concussions playing football in his teens and 20s, including five — by his count — during a two-year stretch at Manhattan. The doozy, he says, came against Temple in the 1999 season opener.

“My first memory of the day was coach Snyder coming to see me in intensive care,” Johnno recalls. “I don’t remember tying my tie. I don’t remember the game at all. And then (three) weeks later, I’m back starting again — it’s a (nationally televised) game with Brent Musburger announcing at Texas Stadium, just because I passed the concussion test at the time.

“We do a lot of stupid things. Looking back on it, it probably wasn’t the smartest thing I did.”

More than a decade later, the scars throb — and linger. Lazetich suffers lapses in concentration. The short-term memory comes and goes. The headaches are killer, although they pop up a lot less frequently than they did five years ago.

“Still, if you ask me to close my eyes and shake my head back and forth as hard as I can, I’d tell you to go (expletive) yourself,” says the native of Continue reading

Law School Yes, Football No

16 May

In the news recently is an undrafted free agent that was signed by the Cleveland Browns, Andrew Sweat.  Not because of his prowess on the gridiron, which was decent enough to get a look, rather his career change.  Some are surmising that this can be due to concussions or the risk of them.

Sweat had a concussion in college and prior to the mini-camp he had an accident that made the decision easier to pursue a law career;

Then on the morning he was preparing to report to training camp last Friday, Sweat slipped and hit his head in the shower. Not that hard, he said. But hard enough to cause his concussion symptoms to return. So he took the final slip as a sign and decided to end his career as a football player, realizing that he’d been struggling with his decision to give football another chance all along.

“When I fell, it scared me,” Sweat said. “Football is not worth my health. It’s really important to me that I’m able to have a family and a life after football. Football is a great game, but when you have a concussion like that, it’s not worth it.”

It wasn’t just headaches or dizziness that brought major Continue reading

Will Football End? Not Because of Lawsuits

10 May

I was interviewed for a piece on Slate by Will Oremus on how it’s not the lawsuits for individuals that will cascade and make football go away.  Rather, it will be the lack of action by organizing groups and those that sanction the sport that could create suits against them that will make the game disappear.

For the record I love the sport of football, I truly believe it has its place in our culture and should not be “banned”.  Football has positive attributes that were discussed in the debate by Tim Green and Jason Whitlock, it too has its undesirable side as well (for the purpose of this blog it is injuries, catastrophic ones at that).

Oremus took a look from a different angle, one that makes a whole lot of sense;

It seems obvious that suing coaches and trainers like Dustin Fink, while holding institutions unaccountable, can’t be the answer to reforming football. Going after individual high schools and colleges isn’t much better. If the evidence that even small hits can cause permanent damage keeps mounting, people will start to ask whether fielding an amateur football team constitutes gross negligence in itself.

The answer to that question should come not from the courts but from high-school athletic conferences, Continue reading

Malcolm Gladwell and His Thoughts on Football and the need for AT’s

2 May

Malcolm Gladwell is an accomplished author, in fact I find his book “Blink” as one of the most influential in my little world.  He has spoken out against the dangers of football even comparing it to dog-fighting, but through all the hyperbole there are some very valid and astute points that need to be listened to.

Kathy Waldman did and interview with Gladwell and wrote it up for Slate on Monday.  Here I will highlight the most striking Q and A’s, you can read the entire article HERE.

Slate: What do you think is the single most compelling reason to abolish college football? Corruption? Head injury? Lost focus on academics?

Malcolm Gladwell: The factor that I think will be decisive is the head-injury issue. Colleges are going to get sued, and they will have to decide whether they can afford their legal exposure. That said, the issue ought to be how big-time college sports subverts the academic mission of university education.

If it becomes a problem at the college level, what does that say about the lower levels?  I agree that head-injury issue is the biggest Continue reading

Monday Morning Weekend Review

30 Apr

There has been a lot of press about concussions the past weekend, mainly due to the NFL draft, however much information is out there (thanks to Concerned Mom for highlighting some in the comment section).  Here is a quick rundown with links that I find interesting.

Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk makes some great points about NFL litigation and actual player concern;

Supporting that contention will be the fact that no NFL player has retired due to fear of potential harm from concussions.  Yes, some have retired due to the immediate consequences of multiple concussions.  But no NFL player, current or prospective, has passed on playing football at its highest level due merely to the fear that the player may suffer one or more concussions that may cause problems for him later in life.[...]

That’s not to say that claims regarding the NFL’s failure to take meaningful steps before 2009 to protect players from concussions will lack merit.  But as players who now know all they need to know about the risks associated with playing football continue to flock to the NFL, it will be harder and harder to get a judge or a jury to accept that players would have walked away from the sport if they had known then what all players know now.

Agreed on all fronts with Florio here, its tough to sell an Continue reading

Coalition for Concussion Treatment #C4CT

27 Apr

Yesterday I helped launch the #C4CT cause via the blog and twitter and it was nice to see the interest really begin to peak (thanks @SchuttSports, @the_jockdoc  and many others).  As with most movements or introduction of products getting interest is the first thing; now with official press release in hand it is time to explain and get more of us going here.

The hard work of Jack Brewer and Alex Nennig (and probably others) of Brewer Sports International have created this coalition which I believe to be a “best foot forward” approach in not only raising awareness and education of concussions (our number on goal on The Concussion Blog) but has a possibility to stake a claim in treatment of lasting effects of TBI.  I am honored to be asked to be a primary supporter of this cause, although as it catches wild-fire I am hopeful more important people jump aboard – looking at you NFLPA and NFL.

It is also an honor to be along side a very strong and promising law student in Paul Anderson.  I have had many conversations about creating such a cause, but have yet to find the trailblazing counterparts until this came along.  Please take the time to read the below press release and join along this weekend in using the #C4CT, even promoting questions from others about the hash tag is an opportunity to inform!

Press Release========== Continue reading

Stigma of Concussions in NFL Draft

26 Apr

The concussive episode, also known as brain injury, is very difficult to grasp for many people; the main reason being that there is nothing we can see outwardly, nor is there a “set” protocol.  Take for example Chris Owusu the Stanford wide receiver who has a brief but intense history of concussions.  Jim Trotter of Sports Illustrated took a very good look at his case and the stigma surrounding concussions in football;

It is against that backdrop that Owusu is entering the NFL. One general manager says he has third-round talent, but gave him a seventh-round grade because of the concussions. Most executives view him as a value pick, meaning he has too much talent to pass on altogether but will only use a late-round selection on him.

Two neurosurgeons and a neurological psychologist recently told SI that there is not an A+B=C formula when it comes to past concussions and susceptibility to future concussions. Factors such as severity of the blow, recovery time and frequency of incident play a role in determining the likelihood of someone being predisposed to future concussions.

That is just one of the many questions surrounding concussions, especially with professional, adult athletes.  It is true; a fully Continue reading

NCAA Chipping In on Concussion Research

13 Mar

According to the AP, the NCAA will be donating $400,000 to help fund a research project;

The National Sport Concussion Outcomes Study Consortium plans to study more than 1,000 male and female college athletes who compete in 11 sports at three schools. Researchers hope to track those athletes after their college careers end and examine the long-term effects of head injuries in hopes of gaining a more comprehensive understanding about brain injuries.

As you can see the actual long-term studies with current technology and assessment tools is JUST NOW getting underway.  I don’t believe we will actually fully understand the impact until the longitudinal studies are completed.  We should get our first glimpse from research Down Under.

Good Idea, but Take Care of Own First

13 Jan

I get why its being done.  In fact I agree with the principle behind the letters to the states, however it is tough to ask for someone to do something that you yourself have a difficult time doing/policing.  The NFL and NCAA sent out letters to 19 Governors asking them to consider concussion legislation (via USAToday);

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NCAA President Mark Emmert are urging 19 governors to support legislation this year aimed at cutting down on concussions in youth football.

Goodell and Emmert sent letters Thursday to governors of states — such as Florida, Ohio and Wisconsin — they said do not have something akin to Washington state’s “Zackery Lystedt Law,” named for a middle school football player who sustained brain damage after he got a concussion and returned to play.

Although both the NFL and NCAA have outlined “guidelines” and mechanisms for concussions themselves, they do have a hard time enforcing them.  A quick glance at just this blog unearths some serious issues: Kris Dielman, Mike Vick, Huffgate, and Bonnergate just to highlight a few.  Just think how difficult that is for an entire state with more than one level and one sport to worry about.  The NCAA should be able to help, but even there they are “recommendations/guidelines”, there are no teeth to the rules.

Legislation is good, but only good for one reason in my opinion: awareness.  That is it, because there are ways to skirt the Continue reading

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,813 other followers