The football season is in its waning phases, 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 has been a couple of weeks since the last “Winter Wednesday Edition” and the break, albeit very small, was good indeed. Santa was good to the family and spending quality time with the wife and kids was awesome. Now it is back to the grind, and the routine that I seem to enjoy.
School is back in session, and not seeing most of the school for the past few weeks, some lingering injuries popped up that I had to address. Most of it was simple, an ankle sprain, patellar tendonitis, quad/hamstring strains, but only one major injury to take care of, yup you guessed it, a concussion. However this one did not happen in sports, but it is related to the winter solstice and “kids-being-kids”.
So last Thursday, the girls basketball coach bought me a player that was not feeling “right” and he had just found out, and even though she was at practice the last few days, she had a headache and ringing in her ears. She had been at school the entire week and finally she had thought to bring it to someone’s attention. Before the mechanism of injury, she explained to me that because it didn’t happen at school, she felt she would be OK to not report it. She also believed, incorrectly, that the symptoms would just pass, because they didn’t they got worse. With all the snow recently around here, the kids love to sled, and sled down a dam and having a blast. Her day did not end up with a fun ending, as she fell off of her sled and, according to her, “drilled” her head on the ice.
We try to educate as much as possible, disseminating all information at all times, and every student-athlete knows the “concussion speech by Fink” at the beginning of each season. However, they are kids and remembering “insignificant” details like vision disturbance and ringing in the ears seem to escape these brilliant minds. Needless to say she knew, but she didn’t know about what to do if it happens out of school.
Her biggest mistake was not reporting it late, which was bad, but the biggest issue was trying to go to school, and knowing that after the first day it was difficult at best and not getting better. Rather than scold her and say “I told you so” (as you have the urge to when working with kids) it was time to comfort and re-educate and assess the situation. I brought mom in for a consult about the issue and a plan was developed. No school for Friday and through the weekend, along with that was ZERO brain stimulation, just rest in a quiet room. But this plan had more impetus for her, as she has a driving exam tomorrow, so her symptoms MUST be gone in order to safely drive and pass the test. Things have gone according to plan, as yesterday she did a half-day with no symptoms and today was a snow day, and she was given another day of complete rest. I am confident she will pass with flying colors… but no guarantee that she will be symptom-free after that.
My half of the job that relates to clinic work is going well-nothing new to report there, just the “job” part of it. The school portion of my days are fun, and teaching the two students more and more about athletic training is great for re-learning the profession. The students have learned and passed my proficiency and are now being requested to tape ankles and wrists. Just the other day, they learned how to do an anterior-drawer test and Lachman’s, and they felt “big-time.” I had to chuckle thinking back to when I first learned these things in high school as well.
Even though things seem to be quiet on the injury front, I believe that as an athletic trainer I am doing my best work, because prevention is the #1 goal of our profession. I hope that things remain calm there, as now I have picked up the off-season conditioning portion of my work at the school. With the help of a football coach, we can monitor the kids preparing for spring sports in the weight room and in the hallways. I put up a workout for the day involving total body fitness and the coach does the weight lifting portion, if he so chooses. Our plan is to give options for the athlete so they stay in shape, or round into shape, before the season begins to PREVENT injuries before they occur, and they get bigger, faster, stronger for their respective sports.
I will check back with you in a week or so, hopefully with even less news!