Getz Out For Season

As we reported earlier this month, Chris Getz took a ball to the back of the head in a Royals vs. White Sox game, causing a concussion.  It happened on September 12th, and he was ruled out for the remainder of the season today by the Royals.

Loopholes in the Laws

I must say the New York Times, and Alan Schwarz, is ALL OVER the concussion issue.  Appearing today in the Sports section he wrote about the Lystedt Law, in Washington state.  The law was enacted to protect the student-athlete, as we have discussed on here previously.

Two parents in Sequim, a small city northwest of Seattle, criticized how a local hospital handled their sons’ treatment after the boys sustained concussions playing high school football this month, with one player’s discharge papers reading, “May return to sports when able.” The other player received no medical attention on the field because emergency technicians were required only for varsity games, and he was on the junior varsity.

Another player’s mother who asked the Sequim School District to begin a baseline neuropsychological testing program — which can assist in evaluating when a player has recovered and can return to play — was told that such testing, “due to liability and legal issues, is not recommended either by the insurance provider” or the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association.

This is a clear reason why this website and another like it (a website run by a mother from the Sequim school district) are here.  Education, period. Continue reading

Hearing On The Hill

Full Committee Hearing 10:00 AM, September 23, 2010 2175 Rayburn H.O.B.
Washington, DC
On, Thursday, September 23, the House Education and Labor Committee will discuss legislation to reduce and more safely manage concussions in student athletes.  At the request of several members of the Education and Labor Committee, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigated the prevalence of concussions in high school athletics and found that concussions often go unrecognized. Recent research shows that concussions can have serious repercussions for student athletes both on the field and in the classroom. During the 2005-2008 school years, an estimated 400,000 concussions occurred in high school athletics – brain injuries that often go unnoticed and untreated.

The Protecting Student Athletes from Concussions Act would establish minimum standards in K-12 schools on concussion safety and management, including educating students, parents and school personnel about how to recognize and respond to concussions. The Education and Labor Committee held a full committee hearing on the issue in May and hosted a field hearing in Long Island, New York in early September.


Concussions Have Distant Impact

Gretchen Reynolds of the New York Times published a great read on how concussions may affect you later in life, appearing in the Phys Ed section.  The story is based around a research study performed in our backyard, the University of Illinois and cutting edge researcher Steven Broglio.

Many of the concussions had occurred years earlier and at the time of the testing, none of the students felt lingering symptoms. Each was performing adequately in college. In the testing itself, the concussed students scored just as well as the uninjured athletes.

But when researchers looked at the electrical activity of the students’ brains, they found that the concussed athletes showed noticeably less activity in portions of the brain associated with attention. ‘‘They had suppressed attentional resources,’’ said Steven Broglio, a professor of kinesiology and community health at the University of Illinois. He and his colleagues Continue reading

Hockey is Gaining Popularity

And along with the increase in popularity, in terms of playing, comes the increase in injury risk.  A new study found that there was nearly a 250% increase in ER visits due to hockey from 1990 to 2006.

While part of the increase is undoubtedly the result of more children playing the sport — the number of high school students playing ice hockey in school-sanctioned leagues increased 88 percent — the uptick in injuries might also be due to an increase in the intensity of the sport , the researchers said.

Of those injuries 9% of them were concussions.  And nearly 25% of injuries were to the face or head or teeth, increasing the call for face shields.

MyHealthyNewsDaily Artilce

Concussions Are Unpredictable

Just ask Taylor Twellman, a soccer player from the New England Revolution how unpredictable they are.  In 2008 near the top of his game and the American leagues he ran full speed into the goal keeper, creating a whiplash effect on his body, most namely the skull.

To this day Twellman has not had a single day without some post-concussive effects.  Continue reading

Concussions Not Only The Field of Play, but…

On the field of battle.  Amy Davidson of the The New Yorker wrote a story about concussions in football and in battle.  More significantly our soldiers are not getting Purple Hearts for such injuries.

She went on to source a ProRebublica/NPR report that was directed at the military and their lack of apparent recognition of brain injures as valid injuries.

An even deeper issue, one that seems not to garner the press it should be getting is the trouble that most soldiers are having trying to readjust to civilian life.  PTSD has been the biggest “diagnosis” for most with issues, but possibly could it be the concussions sustained on the battle field?

PA Approves Bill

The Pennsylvania State Legislature, through its House Education Committee approved a bill about interscholastic concussions.  The aim is to protect the player.  Not unlike the current NFHS guidelines if a player is showing signs and symptoms they are to be removed until cleared by a medical professional.  In related action the vote was 11-10 to not hold umpires, officials, referees accountable if they miss such issues.


Concussions By Sport

Concussions are not exclusive to American football, although it is the most covered sport as it relates to concussions.  This is a good time to note that in the United States the next most concussive sport, is soccer, the number one sport in the world.

A reasearch project by University of North Carolina reported concussion rates by 100,000 athlete-exposures Continue reading

News Story

Patrick Hayslip of the Denton Record-Chronicle in Texas wrote a story about the current issues of concussions.  He also noted the ImPACT system as a good starting place.  He ended the article discussing that the Texas legislature will consider concussion laws.


Concussions may be most notably associated with hard-hitting sports such as football and ice hockey. However, Dr. Michael Auvenshine said that, not only are they the most frequent cause of death in contact sports, other sports such as gymnastics have proven equally as deadly.

Kenny McKinley, RIP

As a Denver Bronco fan I am saddened by the passing of Kenny McKinley.  The all time leading wide receiver at South Carolina was a 2nd year player for the Broncos.  He had limited time last season on special teams, and was placed on the injured reserve for this season for knee injuries.

It is extremely important NOT TO JUMP TO CONCLUSIONS in the wake of the Owen Thomas news and CTE.  There is no current information out there to suggest he had traumatic brain injury (TBI) history, however Thomas did not have a history either.

The only way they can find out is autopsy of the brain and looking for tau proteins, the marker for CTE.  Needless to say a lot of people are rushing to judgment on this one with all the current education out there.  This is a double-edged sword, we will keep you posted if more information becomes available.

It is good that more and more people are aware of CTE.

Great Editorial on Concussions

Paul Davies of The Philadelphia Inquirer penned a great editorial on returning to play with head injuries in this day and age.  CLICK HERE

But given the emerging science linking brain injuries and early deaths to concussions from playing football, I don’t understand why parents today would let their kid play the game. (Fortunately or unfortunately, given their father’s genes, my young kids are unlikely to face this dilemma.)

Another Cardinals Catcher to Retire Due To Concussions

Although he was not a “career” St. Louis Cardinal, catcher Jason LaRue is reportedly going to hang up his gear.  He was in the midst of the brawl between the Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds he was kicked in the head by Johny Cueto.  According the to the story from The Canadian Press, LaRue has sustained about 20 concussions over his athletic career.

Canadian Press Story

CTE Found as Contributing Factor

Another post on Owen Thomas and what researchers have found. 

As we discussed previously chronic traumatic encephalopathy was found by Ann McKee at Boston University.  This case is EXTREMELY unique on many levels.  First, Thomas was the first college aged individual to show CTE, secondly he was never diagnosed with a concussion.  However, being a lineman in football he was exposed to thousands of head hits throughout his career.

Here is a video with his mother and the full story found at;

This particular topic of concussions will be more on the “front burner” as time goes on.

Friday Night Lights Week 4

It looked as though many of you enjoyed my ramblings about Friday nights here in Cornville.  So why not do it again.

Last week the team took one on the chin 40-0, although it was 14-0 for all but 2:30 to go in the first half.  Both my student and I were enjoying a relatively calm evening on the injury front, just some minor blood issues.  That was until late in the 3rd when we had a lower extremity injury occur.

It looked innocuous at the time, sluggish getting up off the deck and limping a bit, but he continued on for a series or two (tough to remember).  Finally he was extremely hampered by the injury and was summoned to the sideline for evaluation. Continue reading