It is an idea that can catch on, real quick, it has the basic tenet of education/awareness at its core, with the right promotion and teaching/tools I am in agreement this will do some good. The plan is to have a national concussion awareness month, September, and along with that have a tour across the United States. Instead of me trying to explain it, here is a promotional video, geared to finding sponsors for this event;
I do not endorse the Shockwave System, I am only endorsing the idea of an awareness tour…. Heck I don’t even know about baseline and/or neurcognitive testing… However the idea to inform everyone is sound…
As I began the blog there were plenty of people who told us that what we were doing was “nice” but it will have little effect on the concussion issue. The easiest and actual response was “so what?” I honestly did not care if people didn’t take the information we wanted to present seriously; I KNEW that someone would.
The original concept was to gather stories and information from as many sources I could find on the limited time I have to devote to the blog. Fortunately we were able to add contributors that have helped in this endeavor (looking at you Noodle), as well as Parent Advocates and the occasional “anonymous poster”.
We believe the information is valid and “blog-worthy” in order to make people aware of the ever-changing issue of concussions. As viewers and commentors have increased over time we believe that we are on the right path.
A lot of the emails and comments I receive in confidence take umbrage with the “attacks” on the NFL and major sports. I can see that angle and appreciate the candor, however it is those entities that we will gain the most profound guidance Continue reading
The concussion news cycle seems to have slowed a bit over the past week. Sure there has been plenty of newsworthy events, including cases of kids getting hurt, but the amount of news seen in the searches has dropped quite a bit recently. I must say that over the past few weeks I have seen more and more “mainstream” outlets picking up on the awareness issue. One such case is NPR and a story about products that have been popping up. The title is a bit misleading as mouthguards are not discussed, it does take a look at the Battle Sports Science Impact Indicator;
Battle Sports Science CEO Chris Circo says his product does measure rotational movement as well as direct head impacts. Circo, who’s had five concussions and takes anti-seizure medication, says he knows how complex brain injuries are. In an interview, he is more circumspect than his trumpet-like email to the media.
“Does the Impact Indicator prevent concussions? Absolutely not,” Circo says. “Does it diagnose concussions? Absolutely not.”
But, as advertised, it does help, says Circo. And despite Halstead’s fear, Circo insists Continue reading
When we think about concussions in football, we typically associate the injury with instances reported in youth or high school programs, relating to second-impact syndrome and the lingering effects post-concussion syndrome can hold upon a student athlete, or we consider the implications of the term ‘concussion’ as it relates to professional football—the leading candidate of media exposure with regards to chronic traumatic encephalopathy, lawsuits, and the root behind penalties and fines. These are hierarchical extremities of the American football family, where we are presented accounts of the effects of traumatic brain injury in our children, or in our idols. One question remains however, and it is one that has rarely been touched upon by the general sports coverage media—what about college football? Where does the issue stand in that level of play?
We have seen efforts from some college football programs in taking on the issue at hand, more specifically referencing the allegiance of the Ivy League, where in this past year they instituted a decrease in mandatory full-contact practices—an effort to limit player exposure to head trauma and the potential risks of repetitive head trauma, a decision that can link itself back to Chris Nowinski’s proposal of ‘hit counts.’ But we haven’t seen many efforts of collegiate teams to address this issue, though a handful of coaches have openly given positive feedback to the awareness that has been brought about lately. College football dominates our weekly routines browsing television, as hundreds of teams square up to compete on the national stage, and upon that stage, it is inevitable to understand that concussions are occurring—it is inevitable to understand that many concussions aren’t being reported, either, by the coaching staffs to the media, or by the players to the coaches.
There is no reason to make it seem that the NCAA is infected by coaches withholding “Mike Leach” complexes, but there is reason to believe that there is a need for issue exposure at this level of the game. Continue reading
Pennsylvania State Representative Tim Briggs has been a clear advocate and vocal outlet for concussion education and awareness, dating back to the immediate commencement of his political career serving the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg, PA. His efforts in putting forth such recognized information have been honorable, and he has gathered the support of many other such legislators to collectively put forth a piece of legislation that would be serve the interests and measures of protection of our student athletes. What was originally put forth in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, known as House Bill (H.B.) 2060, has evolved into a processed bill that is just one step away from being put into action.
In 2010, I worked alongside Briggs, and others, in generating public support and advocacy of H.B. 2060, and did so by appearing in interviews on several news outlets in the Philadelphia area, as well as speaking at a press conference at Lincoln Financial Field– home of the Philadelphia Eagles. At the time, the bill was in it’s youthful state, and was merely a proposed piece of legislation that had yet to reach levels of proper support and political molding. But by seeing what sorts of reactions came about by working with Briggs, and Tracy Yatsko (amongst others), I saw the potential for this piece of legislation, and clearly remained a strong, and proud, supporter all throughout its existence in the House.
H.B. 2060 was passed by the House in September of 2010, and moved on to the Senate to become Senate Bill (S.B.) 200. SB 200 has been largely applauded throughout the Commonwealth as well as across the nation, for it is considered to be one of the strongest, more detailed works of legislation we have seen regarding the treatment of sport-related head trauma in youth sports. It has received the support and acknowledgement of highly acclaimed, world-renown neurologists such as Dr. Julian Bailes of West Virginia, and Dr. Micky Collins of UPMC (Pittsburgh). The following will address the key points of SB 200: Continue reading
Last June, I had the pleasure of speaking at a press conference at Lincoln Financial Field in support of Pennsylvania State Representative Tim Briggs’ proposed concussion management legislation. I was an eighteen-year old who had been researching concussions in sports for nearly ten months at that point—a task that I engaged in to further educate myself and others on the subject at hand; a project that would essentially close many doors in my past that had been left open for too long. But as I situated myself beside the podium at this press conference, I had no idea what kind of story the young woman sitting to my left had to say. Of course, throughout my research, I understood that others have been through worse—much worse—than what I had experienced, but never did I think I would meet someone I could relate to. It was even more than just relating to, for this individual shared a heartbreaking story to the public. She was at the press conference for the same reason as myself, and that was to promote the need for concussion legislation in our state, but she did more than that. Her words were more than the cover to a bill. Her words were the voice of the sports concussion crisis.
Today, Tracy Yatsko, a twenty-three-year old woman from Tamaqua, Pennsylvania, is still fighting the repercussions of an injury that ended her high school athletic career. Six years removed from the moment of her last concussion, Yatsko represents the qualities of strength and motivation, for her battle has not been one that has been easy. Sure, I have heard of stories in which athletes have sustained decisively fatal blows to the head. But when I talk to this woman, and when I think about her story, the only words that I can describe how I have perceived her story is hell on earth. Why did this situation in which Yatsko found herself within come to be?
2005 was a year, with regards to concussion awareness, that was still present in the sports’ ‘Era of Good Feelings.’ There was not much to worry about, and though there were stories creeping out of the media regarding concussions in football, there was not much of a worry in other athletic activities. There really wasn’t much consideration as to what a concussion was. It was merely an injury that was ignorantly summarized as a headache; a distraction; a joke. And with such stigma comes tides of the familiar phrase that claims pain to be weakness leaving the body. Only did we, or rather, do we, come to open our eyes to what a concussion is until the moment of a tragedy personally affects ourselves or those who we consider to be close to us. Continue reading