House Passes Bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House has voted to set federal guidelines on managing concussions among student athletes and protecting young people suffering head injuries from long-term health problems.

The bill would require the government to convene a conference of medical, athletic and education experts to come up with guidelines that address the prevention, identification, treatment and management of concussions in school-aged children. They would include standards for allowing children to return to play after suffering a concussion.

The bill, sponsored by New Jersey Democrat Bill Pascrell, is one of several Congress is considering in response to evidence that improperly treated concussions can cause long-term physical and mental problems. House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller is behind a bill that would direct school districts to implement concussion safety and management plans.


The bill is H.R. 1347.

Dr. Gifford-Jones

If you are reading this from Canada you know Dr. Gifford-Jones.  If not, you probably do not.  He is a doctor that has his opinions and editorials published across Canadian newspapers.  His most recent, about concussions is so good I am going to post the entire thing here.  Thank you to The Expositor

Do you know how much trauma the human brain sustains in contact sports? Unless you’re a concussion specialist, few parents, coaches, athletes or even doctors have much knowledge about the extent of this injury. Concussion is like sugar and salt. Few people are aware of the amount they’re receiving, and all three can be lethal.

Recently, 28 million people watched as the Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Stewart Bradley collapsed on the field. Players frantically called for medical help. To everyone’s surprise Bradley, after a mere four minutes, was back in the game. At half-time, doctors diagnosed his condition as concussion.Later, critics asked why Bradley was not immediately removed from the game. The lame excuse was that a sideline examination showed no concussion. Moreover, Continue reading

Prevention and Education

And it begins at the lowest levels.  If you can educate and make aware of the concussion dangers at a young age then they will have a better chance of retaining the information.  A more important key is that the parents will be aware as their kids get a bit older and the risk of concussions increase they will be prepared.

The Associated Press wrote about how youth football is beginning the process.

USA Football, the sport’s national governing body on the youth and amateur levels, has created a 12-minute video about concussions and made it part of a coaching certification exam. The organization also is pushing the catchphrase “when in doubt, keep them out,” and has just hit TV, radio and the Internet with a campaign called “Put pride aside for player safety,” which aims to erase the notion of someone merely having his bell rung, so he should shake it off and get back in there.

USA Football’s reach is limited, however. It’s a budding group, hoping its work on head injuries will help it gain authority — as opposed to the NFL, NCAA and National Federation of State High School Associations, which already have the power to implement changes.

ALS and Concussions

A research study delved into the association of ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease and head injury, more specific brain trauma.  Boston University and the VA published such information in Journal of Neuropathology & Experimental Neurology.

The New York Times (and you guessed it Alan Schwarz) posted about this research on August 17, 2010 and wrote the following;

Doctors at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Bedford, Mass., and the Boston University School of Medicine, the primary researchers of brain damage among deceased National Football League players, said that markings in the spinal cords of two players and one boxer who also received a diagnosis of A.L.S. indicated that those men did not have A.L.S. They had a different fatal disease, doctors said, caused by concussion like  trauma, that erodes the central nervous system in similar ways.

The Chicago Sun Times and their Soccer Blog wrote about the same thing on September 22, 2010, but how it has affected soccer players;

The findings could shed light on the increased incidence of ALS in contact sports. An Italian study of 7000 professional soccer players from 1970 to 2002 showed 18 of them diagnosed with ALS The study showed Serie players were seven times more susceptible than the non-playing population.

This is a serious issue and important finding, as the life long effects of concussions have yet to be fully discovered, in fact a lot has yet to be discovered on the frontier of the brain.

Concussion Editorial

From Rick Telander of the Chicago Sun Times.

Clearly, nobody is in favor of brain trauma. The problem is the safeguards and preventative measures needed to protect all who might be head-injured playing football could bankrupt most child and adolescent programs.

It might surprise you to know this, but according to a study by University of Illinois kinesiology professor Steven P. Broglio, high school football head impacts exceed those at the college level. Why is not known, though the disparity in size and development of the players seem to be factors. But it shows you for sure that even pencil-necked kids will lay the lumber.

Cart Goes Behind Horse

Emily Babay wrote a piece that appeared on the website today.  The title was “Concussion considered in teen athlete’s suicide” which is a scary thought.  If you read the article you will notice she is trying to connect the Owen Thomas news and recent death of Kenny McKinnley to the unfortunate suicide of a Washington teen.

I find several issues with this reporting, bordering on irresponsible, Continue reading

California Needs to Catch Up With The Neighbors

In California they use the same recommendation from the NFHS about concussions and removal from play.  However they use the term ‘licensed health care provider’.  Which in this state and 46 others would include the profession of athletic training.  Not in California and two other states.

The PRNewsWire documented the struggles of the CATA and how it affects the new concussion guidelines.

California needs to get with it and get the athletic training profession recognized and in a position like 47 other states.  Athletic trainers are on the forefront of the concussion battle, and need to be used as such.

Bob Probert’s Posthumous Donation

One of the most feared hockey players, Bob Probert, will have his brain donated to Boston University and the research center.  This is the same center that did the research on Owen Thomas’s brain, and is on the forefront of CTE research. has run a story about the hard decision his family made, for the betterment of hockey and athletes.  Another player who has planned to donate his brain to BU is Keith Primeau, he said in the article;

“There was a period of time where groin injuries were front and centre, and knee injuries were front and centre, but they began to build it into their business model,” he said in 2009. “They accepted the fact that players were going to miss time because of sports hernias. To me, the head is so much different than just a torn abdominal muscle or a torn knee, in that it can be life altering.”

It will be interesting to see the results.

Oh Canada

One would think that with hockey being its national sport and concussions a big part of that sport, Canada would be all aboard the ImPACT system.  It seems some hockey programs were doing just that, but football was overlooked.  An article on London Free Press’s website, reports that Aquinas High School is the first to implement this for football in all of Canada.

Way to go eh!

Trent Edwards Gets Released

Why would this be The Concussion Blog news?  Well, its more of a theory and observation than news, just stick with me here…

In 2008, Edwards was a very good quarterback for the Bills, and progressing well, until this hit by Adrian Wilson, then of the Arizona Cardinals.

Edwards was never the same after that hit and now he is looking for work.

Avs’s Mueller Out Indefinitely

Peter Mueller the up and coming center for the Colorado Avalanche suffered another concussion in the preseason opener against the LA Kings.  Mueller was concussed last season, which ended his year, and was hopeful that he would have a full year this season with a new helmet that could lessen the blow to the head.  That helmet had not arrived yet to Denver, now Mueller is out for an undetermined time, and the Avalanche are looking for a center once again.

Coverage from The Denver Post

Using Experience to be The Best

Thomas Bottiglieri made a decision to give up football and pursue his career of choice, medicine, after multiple concussions.  Now living and practicing in Englewood, New Jersey, Bottiglieri has become one of the most respected concussion specialists in the area.

He was one of those kids who suffered debilitating symptoms but kept them to himself to stay on the field. He hid them until he could no longer play or study.

Even after quitting football in 1996, he nearly lost the opportunity to become a doctor. His academic struggles were so serious that his adviser suggested that he change his major.

“I just went into this major funk, depression. And I started flunking classes, which is something I had not experienced in my whole life,” said Bottiglieri, who also serves as team doctor for several North Jersey high schools.

“I remember the depression being the worst part of it. There was no highs, it was all just very, very low. Not only was my sport taken away, but I had a headache everyday. I couldn’t pass my classes. No one could understand what was happening to me.”

I can only imagine how hard it was to spell his name after concussions.

New Mouthgaurd

We have not discussed the mouthgaurd thing here as of yet, but let this be the beginning of it.  Many different types have been made and some with the distinction of “preventing” a concussion.  However over time more and more studies have shown that mouthguards have little to no prevention of concussions.

Now the Cleveland Clinic is about to run out a new mouthgaurd that is said to possibly prevent concussions.  But I believe that the context Continue reading

An Overlooked Concussion

And its results.  In the video below you will see tennis professional Victoria Azarenka collapse on the court at the US Open in New York.

Although the conditions were hot, and she had been complaining of abdominal pain earlier in the week, it was later found out that Azarenka sustained a concussion just prior to the match.  While warming up for the match she fell and hit her head.  The doctors and official report blame the fainting on the concussion.

I had missed this story until today, with the thought it was heat related, but after further investigation, it was yet another example of a poorly handled concussion.

NFL Concussions Week 3

This is from the official injury report distributed by the NFL

Players listed with injury of concussion or head that are probable;

  • Kevin Boss, TE, NYG
  • Evan Moore, TE, CLE
  • Jason Witten, TE, DAL
  • Stewart Bradley, LB, PHI
  • Kevin Kolb, QB, PHI

Players listed with injury of concussion or head that are questionable or worse;

  • Carlton Mitchel, WR, CLE
  • Zack Follett, LB, DET
  • Randall Gay, CB, NO
  • Anthony Bryant, DT, WAS
  • Craig Dahl, S, STL
  • Will Davis, LB, ARI

Wii & Concussions

Ohio State University and University of Maryland are using the Wii Fit on a trial basis for assessing concussions.

The Colonial Serf Log, bloged about it recently.

Even though the gaming system and game were not designed for the purpose of medicine/rehabilitation the Wii is getting attention in this area.  The balance you must exhibit on some of the game interfaces, as well as the memory and reaction time needed for others can indeed help make assessment decisions. Continue reading

Friday Night Lights Week 5

Lets just begin by saying we did not have to travel to an emergency department last friday.  That being said there were some lost opportunities for the team to get an underdog victory.  The kids played hard, in a hard-hitting game, so the bumps and bruises were quite substantial.

The main thing on my mind, however, was the concussion from Monday nights game, as I bloged about here.  I was still running the entire thing over and over in my mind, and trying to make things better for all involved.  I probably played out 10 different scenarios in the down time we had during the game, just in case we had a concussion.

We did not, during that game, only a player complaining of Continue reading

NFL Player Returns then is Out

The Cleveland Browns had a similar situation, as Stewart Bradley in Philly, this past weekend.  Tight end Evan Moore took a shot from Kansas City Chief Kendrick Lewis and was “rocked”.

According to Tom Withers of the AP

After going down, Moore shook his head as he has done after taking big hits before and jogged to Cleveland’s sideline, where he was met by team trainers. He felt normal and told them so. The 6-foot-6, 250-pounder had taken jarring hits and figured this was just another one.

“It was a good hit,” Moore said, “but I didn’t black out or anything. When I took the hit, Continue reading

Congressional Hearing

Today there was a hearing on the concussions and how they affect the student-athlete on “The Hill”.

Protecting Student Athletes from Concussions Act is what it will be called.  It is suspected that they will use language similar to Lystedt Law in Washington.

All of this is supported by the NFL and other sanctioning bodies. has a story

Life After Concussions

Even for a 14 year-old there has to be something after concussions take you out of contact sports.  Austin Crosby of Arizona had his life in contact sports cut short due to concussions.  However he found something else to be great in!

Not only did Austin finish first in his 10-14 age group – by almost 10 minutes – he smoked everybody in the 15-19 age group, too…

And his mother could not be more happy, check her blog.

Concussion Prevention Begins In School

As I have stated time and time again, education is the key to prevention of any injury.  But none is as important as the head injury.  Education Week published a story by Christina A. Samuels about such prevention.

“Football is such a macho sport. There’s a pervasive mentality in that sport” to ignore injuries, said Mike Carroll, the head athletic trainer at the 1,000-student Stephenville High School in Stephenville, Texas. “I really have to emphasize that this is not something you can walk off.”

Mr. Carroll, who has been at his school for 20 years, doesn’t have to fight too hard with the coaches when it comes to holding students out who have received concussions. But some students are still slow to report their injuries. Recently, one student who was injured Continue reading