There was big news out of Bloomington, Illinois coming and I was getting fired up because the word on the street was they had been working with the Kory Stinger Institute and Sports Legacy Institute to create a new “football” policy. With my effort over the past two years to get the Illinois High School Association to look at and make some proactive changes to the way football is practiced, there was hope it had not fallen on deaf ears.
Well, the announcement/proposal is out… It’s a good first step; one that addresses the heat issues that plague football. Some highlights are;
- 14 day period that every player must go through to be eligible to play
- Strict guidelines on actual practice time and rest time during multiple practice days (traditionally 2-a-days)
- Set rest days
- Removal of “grey area” of weights/agilities/walk throughs
- Definition of scrimmages
- No matter what was done before the start of the season all must do the 14 day period
Moreover this proposal is very specific and makes very good sense in the area of heat acclimatization. Obviously you can see the hard work of KSI in the proposal, but where is SLI input? Some of the missing talking points Continue reading
It has been over a week now since I wrote the high school sanctioning body in Illinois about making a change to limit contact in high school football. This was not done to promote myself, nor was it to hammer a sport many – including me – love. It was an attempt to get out in front of the issue and make proactive changes to protect not only the players but the game of football. It is a genuine good intention on my part.
Since the letter went out via email and on this blog I have had many responses from many different people and places. There have been questions and comments about what was written and in this post I will address as many as possible.
Let us begin with the deafening silence on the issue. As in only one email in response (24 sent out) from the IHSA and its board of directors. That response was as follows; “Thanks, Dustin”. Yup that is it. Not that I was expecting an invitation to HQ to break this down but maybe some questions or comments or stonewalling, nope – nothing.
Cost became a hot topic on this proposal. Yes, I concede that hiring an athletic trainer will cost you some money, but seriously would you send you kid to a swimming pool without a life guard? It is the same thing as sudden death, Continue reading
I have been working on this letter for a little while but was really spurred to action by the parent in Maryland, Tom Hearn who discussed his concerns with the local school board. I have tried and tried to use the “chain-of-command” with these thoughts and ideas, however at every step I got the feeling I would have to go alone on this, so I have. This letter may or may not reflect the opinions of my employer, high school, athletic training sanctioning bodies, or others I am involved with. This letter is from a concerned individual who feels I can spread the message effectively by these means. I have emailed the letter, proposals and the Sports Legacy Institute Hit Count White Paper to all Executive Directors and Board of Directors of the Illinois High School Association.
May 15, 2012
Illinois High School Association
c/o: Marty Hickman, Executive Director
2175 McGraw Drive
Bloomington, IL 61704-6011
(309) 663-7479 – fax
Dear IHSA – Executive Directors, Board of Directors and Sports Med Advisory Board:
I am writing this letter to address the growing concern of concussions in sports, mainly in football. It should be noted that football is not the only sport with a concussion issue; however this sport combines the highest participation, highest risk, and highest visibility. This letter should not be construed as an attack on the sport of football, but rather a way to keep the sport continuing to grow.
As a licensed and practicing Athletic Trainer, researcher, commenter, father, and survivor of too many concussions, I feel that in order to keep the sports we love, proactive steps must be taken. Often being proactive is a painful process and easily dismissed because of the trouble it will cause. I urge all involved to think about what the future of all sports will be if nothing is done.
The Illinois State Legislature with the IHSA took the initiative by creating a mechanism of concussion education and awareness in response to the mounting scientific evidence of potential long-term impairments resulting from mishandling of this injury. However, this only represents a first step in the process; passing out a flyer or having parents and athletes initial that they have read the information is one small element of the issue. Another crucial element of the issue is coaching. We must ensure that those we entrust with the care and leadership of our children understand Continue reading
Although I would like to live blog about the conference today in Clinton, I don’t think I will have the time but I can recap what has happened and will happen today.
I would first like to say I am extremely impressed with the attendance today, a very diverse audience: doctors, state administrators, athletic trainers, coaches, teachers and students.
Clinton High School Principal Ron Conner put together this conference today as he felt the adolescent athlete needs special attention so he put together this presentation with the help of Matt Munjoy, MHA, ATC.
The first speaker was Robert Keller, MD, a orothopedic surgeon that spoke on ACL injuries, the pathology, the evaluation, the surgery, recovery and prevention of ACL injuries. Dr. Keller clearly identified that females may be more exposed to this significant injury than male counterparts. A very good view/information from a surgeon.
The next speaker was Wendell Becton, MD, a sports medicine physician Continue reading
I have noticed a major change in how we have been able to manage concussions at my school since this new legislation. When it initially came out the school personnel, athletes, and parents were reluctant and upset with the new requirements. I, on the other hand, was ecstatic because it put the athletic trainers in the forefront and helped bring to light the issue of concussions along with the issue of the lack of athletic trainers in secondary schools.
I am solely responsible for concussion management at the school that I am contracted with. In August, I spoke numerous times at parents’ meetings, with the athletes, and with the coaching staff. I spoke at length with the school nurse. All of them received information from the Illinois High School Association and CDC regarding concussions. The coaches, administrators, and school nurse were also provided with the return to play protocols.
It is important that we as athletic trainers take control of concussion management. Most others are not educated to do so nor Continue reading
Northwestern University is hosting a FREE concussion symposium to bring anyone that chooses to attend up to speed on concussion issues, particularly in the state of Illinois. This even is co-sponsored by the Illinois High School Association. Registration is necessary for this event. I received an email from Megan McCann;
I wanted to give you the heads up about an upcoming symposium at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago which will aim to educate coaches, trainers, athletic directors and youth sports volunteers on the importance of concussion awareness. The free event will be held on Wednesday, July 27, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Hunt Batjer, MD, chair of neurological surgery at Northwestern, is also the chair of the NFL’s head, neck and spine committee. He will be among the panelists speaking on the topic of concussions.
You can get further information by CLICKING HERE. The event culminates with a keynote luncheon (Mike Ditka is original headliner), as stated above registration is needed to attend, but it is free. Go to the link above to get all set up. Even though this is in my “backyard” unfortunately work conflicts will not allow me to attend, I would appreciate anyone that goes to send us the Cliff’s Notes version.
UPDATE 7/15/11 9:52am: Mike Ditka will be unavailable for the event, they are currently looking for a replacement and will announce ASAP.
The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) and its Board of Directors approved the new recommendation for return to play for athletes (high school only mind you). Currently Illinois does not have legislation in place for concussions, but when the current HB200 gets mixed with SB150 the legislation will give the authority for policies to the IHSA. In lieu of not having legislation the IHSA has taken the NFHS rule a bit further in determining when a “concussed” player can return to practice or activity, period;
The new Policy reads: “In cases when an athlete is not cleared to return to play the same day as he/she is removed from a contest following a possible head injury (i.e., concussion), the athlete shall not return to play or practice until the athlete is evaluated by and receives written clearance from a licensed health care provider to return to play.
For the purposes of this policy, licensed health care providers consist of physicians licensed to practice medicine in all its branches in Illinois and certified athletic trainers working in conjunction with physicians licensed to practice medicine in all its branches in Illinois.”
A proactive step by the IHSA that should be applauded, and also a step in the right direction in defining who exactly can clear an athlete; MD/DO or ATC ONLY. There are other “doctors” that would be competent in dealing with concussions (see neuropsychologists) and perhaps in the future the IHSA will expand the licensed health care providers to include them. This clarifies a lot of questions that many, including myself had in this state.
We highlighted, a while back, South Dakota pushing a bill through the state legislature, but as of today it only needs the Governor’s signature. It is not without some questions, like the Illinois bill.
Senate Bill 149, also known as concussion legislation, is now on its way to the Governor’s desk for his signature. But those who support the bill say there’s still more to be done.
Kelli Grant of Keloland.com discussed the “shortfalls” with the bill, granted this move is a great start. The main issue, just like Illinois is that the proposed bill only INCLUDES high school athletes sanctioned by the state association. There is no mechanism for sports that are “club” or for those kids younger than high school age.
I was interviewed yesterday by a local TV station (WAND), about the bill in Illinois and how it can help the young athletes, and I made the same point that the article from South Dakota was making. It is a great start, for both SD and IL, but if lawmakers are truly concerned for the safety of youth athletes more should be done.
Specifically speaking on Illinois, Continue reading
The football season is officially over, however that does not mean the concussion risk is gone. Yes, it will be reduced slightly, but awareness is continued and the importance of an athletic trainer is underscored more. During the winter months we will spend time blogging about the life of an athletic trainer, what I do, and what we can do for schools.
It is now postseason for sports here in Illinois the time is now for teams to be at their best as the winner moves on. The state-series here in Illinois includes every high school participating in the sport. First is the Regionals where 5-8 teams at 32 sites begin the march to a state title (speaking of basketball), if the team advances they move on to Sectionals at 8 sites where 4 teams vie for a birth into Super Sectionals where 2 teams face of for a Final Four birth.
This time of year is full of emotions like; excitement, happiness, and sadness. As an athletic trainer the excitement usually wins out until your team gets eliminated (and for the very few elation if they win it all). Part of our dealings with the school include post-season coverage including travel to away sites, this is where the excitement comes in.
Traveling to other schools that you usually have very little interaction with is exciting, a chance to reacquaint with other athletic training peers, or administrations you know allows us to network. Continue reading
Here is an article about concussions from the Decatur Hearld-Review. The subject of the NFHS rule will be dissected later in this blog. It is great to see this information being sent out. Also a shout out to my boy, Jeffery “My Man” Rounds!!!