Soccer Concussions

IMSoccer News (Inside Minnesota Soccer News) has created a wonderful post about concussions in soccer; this educational and informative piece needs to be seen by more than travel the IMScoccer website.  The focus is on the sport of soccer, which is a good place for us to gather information.

The National Institute of Health cites that 4-8% report suffering concussions in soccer, but they also believe that 90% go unreported or unrecognized so the actual incidence could be closer to 40%.

Julie Eibensteiner goes on to explain how one might sustain a concussion in this sport;

1.    Elbow to head and head-to-head contact when two or more players are contesting for ball in the air. MOST COMMON
2.    Goalkeepers getting kicked or getting a knee to the head or hitting head on goalpost.
3.    Body-to-body contact without direct contact to the head in which the head accelerates or decelerates violently.
4.    Getting hit in head unexpectedly with the ball and hitting head on ground after a fall.
5.    Deliberately heading the ball LEAST COMMON

NOTE: Typical boxing punch produces head acceleration of 100g v 20g for typical header. American soccer players head a ball 5-6 times per game and roughly 9 times at practice. In addition, FIFA’s Medical and Research Center concluded that “forces generally associated with heading the ball are not sufficient to cause concussions.”

Eibensteiner further explains how to handle coaching heading to the youth;

1.    Learn proper heading technique – contact with the ball at the hairline/forehead NOT the top of the head.
2.    Learn to properly prepare for contact with the ball and a mentality of initiating contact with the ball instead “letting the ball hit you.” This will prepare the neck and postural muscles to help absorb impact and force to the body and head …and make you a more effective player.
3.    Use under-inflated soccer balls or even balloons with younger kids (U12 and younger or inexperienced older players) until they get comfortable with heading and learning proper technique.
4.    Strengthen neck muscles
5.    Limit the amount of repetitive heading at practice to 10 minutes or less

A well-put-together post by IMSoccer News and Julie Eibensteiner, worthy of you time, especially if you are involved in the sport of soccer.

Deadspin Takes on Scholarships and Concussions

Emma Carmichael of wrote an article about how schools have, and in the future will, handle the scholarships of players who have to “retire” due to concussions.  Emma highlighted the cases of the four players in the past year that have had to call it careers, with the catalyst being Steven Threet of Arizona State.

But concussions can’t be planned around graduations. And at some point soon, thanks in large part to the bad incentives created by the NCAA’s one-year, renewable scholarship, an athletic department somewhere will have to choose between expediency and simple humanity, and an athlete somewhere else will have to choose between his scholarship and his health.

There is no legal obligation for the Universities/Colleges to maintain the financial aid given to the student-athlete.  In reality if the institutions were to pull the scholarship the message would be clear; football is more important Continue reading

Spring Training + Errant Ball = Concussion

Josh Beckett of the Boston Red Sox was struck in the head by an errant ball while in the outfield during Spring Training in Florida.  Initially he was assessed as “OK”, however;

After first saying that pitcher Josh Beckett was OK after getting hit in the head with a ball Monday, the Boston Red Sox later said he was experiencing symptoms consistent with a mild concussion.

Beckett, who was standing in left-center field, went to one knee after he was struck in the left side of the head. Teammates immediately called for the training staff, and he was escorted off the field with his hand on his head.

The Red Sox said the pitcher did not need to be taken to the hospital and was treated at the park. The team later sent him home to rest.

This is a terrible accident but it goes to show that concussions can happen in most circumstances on the field of sport.  There is an issue however in this, the reporting of “mild” should not be to qualify the injury of concussion, rather the symptoms occurring.  What is important is that a concussion is a concussion.  I was relieved that the Red Sox have changed their tune, when I first heard the report I was a bit skeptical about him not having an issue related to concussion.


NHL Concussion Report 2.28.11

Each week we scour the web to find concussions in the National Hockey League.  We will keep a running tally on that information as the season progresses.  However, it is not easy as the NHL has decided that listing injuries as “upper body” or “undisclosed” is a good indicator of actual injuries occurred.  Our list is believed to be as accurate as possible, even including injuries that have vague listings but through reports and video analysis should be classified as concussions.

This week has been very quiet on the concussion front.  Other than some “undisclosed” and “upper body” injuries that are very suspect there is nothing to add this week.  The total remains at 70 for the season thus far, making this season on pace for the most reported.  With the NHL Superstar Sidney Crosby continued to be sidelined by concussion symptoms, the NHL must grasp this issue to its fullest. Continue reading

New Study: Concussions May Be on Rise

The American Journal of Sports Medicine has published a study that indicates that concussions may be on the rise for high school aged individuals.

In 25 public schools from 1997 to 2008, and six different sports each for girls and boys, there were about five concussions for every 10,000 times high school athletes were on the field, the research — published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine — found.

That’s up from slightly over one per 10,000 times on the field in 1997.

Breaking it down by some sports and gender in the study:

Football was the riskiest sport, with a rate of about six concussions per 10,000. Boys’ lacrosse and soccer came next. For girls, concussions were most common during soccer at three and a half per 10,000, followed by lacrosse and basketball.

However, when boys and girls played similar sports, girls were about twice as likely to get a concussion. The same has been found in college athletes, but nobody really knows why.

The study author Andrew Lincoln did make mention that this could be due to increased awareness about the injury, and the fact that Continue reading

Irv Muchnick Compiling Duerson Information

Irv Muchnick has created links to his “Dave Duerson NFL Suicide Story You’ll Read Nowhere Else – In Five Parts“.

The parts are listed as;

It is always good to gather information, be it from varying sources to expand your mind and knowledge.  Give Irv a few minutes.

Recent ABC Story

ABC has run a very extensive story about head injuries in sport (see football) in light of the Duerson suicide.  The article is good but what is striking are the videos associated with it.  Not only the embedded video on the first page, but the sourced videos below it, mainly about Mike Webster (Driven Mad?).

Neuropathologist Bennet Omalu, MD, who was the first to identify the condition, told MedPage Today, “There is no reason, no medical justification, for any child younger than 18 to play football, period.”

As we should know Omalu is the godfather of CTE, he first found it with Webster and subsequently other former NFL’ers, once called a “doctor of Voodoo medicine” Omalu has some of the best perspective on this injury.

“People said then, and still are saying today, that when former athletes deteriorate into depression, drug abuse, and even violence and criminality, it’s because they don’t compete well on the field of life after competing well on the field of football,” Omalu said in an interview with MedPage Today. Continue reading

Iowa Bill Set For Floor

The Midwest has been busy the past couple of days as now Iowa is about to bring SF153 up for a vote.  Interestingly enough this bill in Iowa is very similar to the Illinois bill.

This bill directs the board of directors of each public school district and the authorities in charge of each nonpublic school to develop guidelines and other pertinent information and forms to inform and educate coaches, student athletes, and parents and guardians of student athletes of the nature and risk of concussions and other head injuries, including the danger of continuing to participate in athletic activities after a concussion or head injury. The bill requires school districts and nonpublic schools to annually provide the parent or guardian of a student athlete with a concussion and head injury information sheet which must be signed and returned before the student athlete may participate in an extracurricular interscholastic athletic activity.

We have spoken in-depth about how bills like this are a good, make that a great, start to the process but perhaps they are not going far enough.  They are almost like “window dressing”, it won’t make the house more valuable, but it will sell it quicker.  I also asked an Iowa athletic trainer to give me some feedback about the bill in their state; Continue reading

Laws and Mandates Not Enough

According to Matt Chaney, a pseudo-contributor to The Concussion Blog and an individual who’s thoughts I respect, the bills and mandates being voted upon are not enough;

What is the National Football League up to?

Who do NFL yaks think they are, pushing the 50 states and District of Columbia to burden schools with fresh bureaucracy and expense by passing youth concussion laws that offer minimal protection while raising legal stakes?

A phat-assed, billion-dollar entertainment conglomerate dictates need for vital, cash-strapped public education?

NFL yaks in their glass tower still don’t get everyday America. They should grasp current news besides droning sports trivia, like several states’ succumbing to bankruptcy while all scrape to fund education, police and fire protection, water and sewer, and roads and bridges, among our necessities suffering shortfall.

Matt has a passion that is very palpable not only for the safety of kids Continue reading

Two Bills Move Forward: IL & TX but vastly different

HB200 of the Illinois State Legislature has moved forward and is poised to be voted in very soon.  (Full bill in .pdf HERE)

Amends the School Code. Requires a school board to work in concert with the Illinois High School Association to develop guidelines and other pertinent information and forms to inform and educate coaches, student athletes, and these athletes’ parents and guardians of the nature and risk of concussions and head injuries, including continuing to play after a concussion or head injury. Requires the concussion and head injury information sheet to be signed and returned by a student athlete and the athlete’s parent or guardian prior to the student athlete’s initiating practice or competition. Provides that a school board shall adopt a policy requiring a student athlete who is suspected of sustaining a concussion or head injury in a practice or game to be removed from competition at that time. Requires the policy to provide that a student athlete who has been removed from play may not return to play until the student athlete is evaluated by a licensed health care provider trained in the evaluation and management of concussions and head injuries and the student athlete receives written clearance to return to play from that health care provider.

This is a good start-that is all it is-in my opinion, because this bill does not include other sanctioned sports except those that fall under the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) umbrella.  What this does not address; Continue reading

Memory Loss and Switiching Dominant Hands

That is what happened to 14 year-old Mikayla Wilson of Washington state, after she sustained a concussion playing basketball. has a story and video on this HERE.

“She didn’t black out, she didn’t grab her head in obvious injury,” Wilson’s dad, Michael, told ABC News affiliate KXLY 4. “She just got up and noticed her head hurt a little bit on the back. But basketball these days is a very physical game, and there’s lots of contact.”

And one does not have to have ‘obvious symptoms’ in order for the brain to be dysfunctional.  Although rare, it can happen.

After a fouled Wilson shot her free throws, she played two more quarters for the Liberty High Lancers. It wasn’t until the team gathered after the game when Wilson asked her mom, Lorie, “Who are those girls dressed just like I am and why are they looking at me?” that anyone noticed anything wrong.

One of the most scary signs of concussion is the loss of memory, I have had kids and adults tell me that Continue reading

Another College Football Player “Retires”

Steven Threet, the very productive quarterback for the Arizona State Sun Devils is ending his career as a football player, due to concussions;

Steven Threet, who has suffered four concussions in the past five years, has decided to end his football career at Arizona State.

Threet helped revive ASU’s offense last season, completing 61.9 percent of his passes, for 2,534 yards and 18 touchdowns with 16 interceptions. He suffered two concussions, the first Oct. 23 at California and the second Nov. 26 against UCLA.

“At this point, I think this is the best decision, given the circumstances I’m in,” said Threet, adding that he’s still experiencing symptoms from the UCLA concussion that ended his season. He still has headaches and has trouble sleeping.

“It’s extremely hard,” Threet said. “Obviously, this is a game I love. I love the guys that I’ve played with. Throughout my career I’ve had to make a lot of tough decisions, but this has been the toughest I’ve made so far.”

Threet has joined Tre’ Newton of Texas and Steven Thomas of BYU as the third college football player to end their career early due to concussions.

SOURCE via Deadspin


Name that helmet and model…

“Ear Infection” for Mike Miller

It is being reported that Mike Miller of the Miami Heat is out for a third straight game, over a week’s time, with an “ear infection”.

Miller is still dealing with the effects of an ear infection and was not cleared to travel with the Heat on Wednesday afternoon’s flight to Chicago. He has missed Miami’s last two games, including Tuesday’s home victory against the Sacramento Kings. Miller also missed last Wednesday’s game at Toronto after he was tested for concussion symptoms last week.

This is a very curious designation of injury for Miller, in lieu of what we and other have reported that happened last week.

Miami Heat guard Mike Miller was taken to an Indianapolis hospital for tests and observation Tuesday night after suffering a blow to the head for the third consecutive game.  Miller will not travel with the Heat to Toronto and will not play against the Raptors Wednesday night.

Perhaps he was infected when he was in Indy?  Or, wait…  While in the hospital, Miller contracted the ear infection.  If you cannot detect the sarcasm, I am sorry, but Miller and the Heat are raising some eyebrows.  Now it is completely possible that Miller has actual observable conditions of an ear infection (fluid in the tympanic membrane) but the fact Continue reading

NFL to Implement New Sideline Test

The National Football League sent out a presser that they will be implementing a standard sideline assessment for concussions in the upcoming year.  The presser reads in whole via the AP;

NDIANAPOLIS — The NFL says it will use a new sideline test to determine concussions next season.The league said in a release Wednesday that more details of the evaluation will be announced on Friday in Indianapolis, where the annual scouting combine is being held this week.

But the NFL said the new sideline test will include a checklist of symptoms, a limited neurological evaluation and a balance assessment. It will employ many components of the evaluation process developed during a Concussion in Sport meeting at Zurich in 2008.

The test was developed by the NFL’s Head, Neck, and Spine Committee, with input from the NFL team physicians and athletic trainers and their professional associations.

If this assessment is based upon Zurich as stated one could expect to see a version of the SCAT2 used, along with the Baseline Error Scoring System.

Sideline Concussion Assessment Tool-2

Baseline Error Scoring System (BESS)

This long overdue as the NFL, weather they like it or not, sets standards that most will grasp and comform to when it comes to concussions in football and sports.

A small disclaimer on the Zurich-2008 Recommendations; professional American football is the ONLY sport that has an exception about allowing players to return to play on the same day;

This issue was extensively discussed by the consensus
panelists and it was acknowledged that there is evidence
that some professional American football players are able to return
to play more quickly, with even same day RTP supported by
National Football League studies without a risk of recurrence or
sequelae.61 There are data, however, demonstrating that at the collegiate
and high school level, athletes allowed to RTP on the same
day may demonstrate NP deficits post-injury that may not be evident
on the sidelines and are more likely to have delayed onset of
symptoms.62–68 It should be emphasized, however, that the young
(<18 years) elite athlete should be treated more conservatively
even though the resources may be the same as for an older professional
athlete (see Section 6.1).

Saying No To Return to Play

On a website with a tag line “About-From-For Physicians” a staff writer wrote an article about the troubles physicians have in returning athletes to play.  It is the job of a physician to protect the patient, but there are gray areas that toil with the mind.  Not unlike physicians, athletic trainers face the same situations, but with out an ‘MD’ behind their name.

But what about those gray areas? It’s the championship game, three points down in the fourth quarter with six minutes left on the clock at the 20-yard line. The star wide receiver receives a nasty tackle, and you know he’s suffered a minor concussion. As the professional team physician, you know what you must do, but the wide receiver is begging you to let him play, and the coach is breathing down your neck with threats and pleas. Or what about the senior high-school athlete whose only shot at a college education Continue reading

Illinois State Wrestling Take 2

After we chronicled the events in the Class A 160 pound weight class and the curious surroundings we have found an example in the same tournament on the same days with a DRASTICALLY different outcome.

Not unlike Andy Hoselton of Prairie Central who had an unblemished record going in, Nick Fontanetta of Crystal Lake South was hoping for a State Championship, his weight class is 112 pounds.  After advancing to Saturday’s semi finals with as much ease as possible this happened;

But disaster struck the Gators’ junior in his Saturday morning match against Joliet Central Trayvon Zabala.

The Steelmen sophomore caught Fontanetta in a vulnerable position, and his violent takedown sent the Gators’ standout to a local hospital.

Granted Fontanetta did go to a hospital and Hoselton did not, based upon reports (all inquiries about the EXACT circumstances of the Hoselton/Cain match have not be returned) both wrestlers sustained a head injury.

“He suffered a concussion,” South coach Ross Ryan said.

Speaking about Fontanetta, but rather than being allowed to return, the junior was not give the OK to return to the mat and thus Continue reading

Another Perspective on Duerson

In an article written by Irv Muchnick we the reader get another perspective on the concussion issue, as highlighted by the suicide of Dave Duerson.

The gruesome decades-long underground American saga that is the football concussion crisis has never gotten in our faces quite like the story of the suicide last week, at age 50, of one-time National Football League defensive player of the year Dave Duerson.

How many levels are there to the news that Duerson put a gun to himself, but not before texting family that he wanted his brain donated for research on the brain-trauma syndrome now known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE)? Let us, like Elizabeth Barrett Browning, count them. It begins with the fact that he shot himself in the chest – perhaps with supreme confidence that by avoiding his head and leaving intact his postmortem brain tissue, it will confirm that he is around the 21st diagnosed case of CTE among former football players.

Duerson is the latest casualty of a sport that has evolved, via training technology and industrial design, into a form of gladiatorialism whose future human and economic viability is questionable. The New Yorker and New York Times have started assessing this cultural phenomenon with their own brands of competence and Ivy League restraint. From the closeted gutter of pro wrestling, where all the same venalities play out with less pretense, I’m here to tell “the rest of the story” – such as how the same corrupt doctors who work for the NFL also shill for World Wrestling Entertainment, and how it’s all part of the same stock exchange of ethics for profits and jock-sniffing privileges.

To read the rest of this story go to Beyond Chron, HERE.

Better concussion policy: NFL, NHL or MTV?

When MTV takes more decisive action than the NFL or NHL, perhaps it’s time to look at who makes the final decision in pro sports. ‘Pro’ being the operative word.

MTV’s The Challenge isn’t technically a sport. Unless you hear ESPN’s Bill Simmons and Dave Jacoby talk about it. They’re probably on to something – it should be the fifth main sport. If you haven’t seen the show (it’s not in-season, but it is here), this season – The Challenge: Cutthroat – provided a good example of why everyone should pay attention to concussions. Seriously. MTV.

It’s not like Jersey Shore (but there is drunk fighting and debauchery), it’s more like Survivor meets a gym (30 contestants, 9 challenges). Unlike the quirky challenges in which ‘castaways’ compete, the competitions in The Challenge are extremely physical. Case in point was a team challenge this season in which the contestants had to dive/jump from a moving platform into a pond and then swim a circuit. Chet, a member of the red team, landed awkwardly on the water, and once on the shore he was attended to by paramedics, brought to hospital, diagnosed with a concussion and told he wasn’t allowed to compete anymore.

What made Chet’s removal an easy decision for MTV was at least partly because Chet wasn’t a professional MTV contestant. His career was not The Challenge (at least, I hope not). Whatever his eventual career choice Continue reading

Video About Duerson, a Multi-source Video Analysis website, has run a video about Duerson and information surrounding his untimely death.


Of note in the Duerson follow-up has been the fact that he shot himself in the chest, and it is being reported that he mentioned to his family that he did that for the explicit reason of not harming his brain.

NHL Concussion Report 2.21.11 (UPDATED: 70)

Each week we scour the web to find concussions in the National Hockey League.  We will keep a running tally on that information as the season progresses.  However, it is not easy as the NHL has decided that listing injuries as “upper body” or “undisclosed” is a good indicator of actual injuries occurred.  Our list is believed to be as accurate as possible, even including injuries that have vague listings but through reports and video analysis should be classified as concussions.

The list has grown, but Grabovski is not on there, however some players have been reclassified to concussion or head injury.  New additions this week;

  • Jonas Hiller – Anaheim (was initially “fatigue”)
  • Brad Richards – Dallas
  • Marian Gaborik – New York Rangers
  • David Schlemko – Phoenix (2nd different concussion listing)
  • Aaron Asham – Pittsburgh (from undisclosed to concussion after injury on 2/2)

This makes our running total of concussion listings at 69…  I will note that as of late more and more head injuries are being classified on the injury report.  I hope this is due to the need for more awareness and not due to the fact of actual increased injuries.  I happen to think it is the former.

UPDATE 2.22.11: It is now being reported the Nick Johnson, out since a fight in Denver has a concussion.  That now brings the total to 70 concussions in the NHL this year.

Military Head Injury Research

Dr. Ann McKee, of the Boston University “brain bank” associated with the Sports Legacy Institute, recently spoke to the U.S. Army during a conference on how to protect soldiers’ brains.  Her specialty is chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and finding this disease in brains sent for sampling.

The bulk of the 66 brains in her team’s “brain bank” are boxers and football players who had experienced repeated blows to the head during their careers. But she did have in her collection the brains of five former Soldiers. The disease, CTE, is the result of repeated trauma to the head.

“This disease does develop in military veterans — it really has been described in many different types of mild traumatic injury,” McKee said. “It’s less important how you get the injury, what’s important is that you had repetitive injury.

Dr. McKee, along with Dr. Benett Omalu, are pioneers in this field and a lot of what they have to say is unfiltered/censored by “bigger” entities.


Sad End of Dave Duerson

Dave Duerson was found dead in his Miami home on Thursday, and initially there was no reason given for his death.  Duerson was recently quoted in a newspaper article commenting on his fellow defensive teammate Richard Dent and his enshrinement into the NFL Hall of Fame.

Today the Chicago Tribune is reporting that the cause of death has been ruled a suicide;

The Chicago Tribune is reporting former Bears safety Dave Duerson died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest, and the co-director of a medical school program tells The Associated Press his family has agreed to donate his brain for research.

Chris Nowinski of the Sports Legacy Institute has confirmed that Duerson’s brain has been donated for research.

The initial report of his death can be found here.  What is shocking to most is that he had been in contact with former teammates very recently;

“When we spoke recently, he sounded great,” former Bears defensive back Shaun Gayle said. “It’s a real shock to all of the guys.”

Duerson is most known for his hard-hitting style in the defensive backfield, most notably with the Super Bowl Champion Chicago Bears of 1985.

BREAKING: Wrestling Head Injury Issue (UPDATE x2)

Although I have been away with the birth of my second son (third child), I have been keeping tabs on the sports universe, especially with state wrestling championships.  In Illinois,  two of the kids at our high school qualified (one in the Finals).  It has been great to follow them through the internet, text messages and chat boards.

What I have learned though this as well is The Concussion Blog has followers and people looking at head injuries in a different light.  I received a couple of texts last night telling me that there was a wrestler that had been “thrown” on his head and was hurt.  It was deemed illegal and there was a two-minute recovery period for him to continue, and he did not.

One person, a coach who wants to remain anonymous, we will call him Tommy Swords, sent me an email length text with this report:

A kid was dropped on his head and from where we were and the reports later he was knocked out.  He came to and the medical staff ruled he could not continue.

So I did some digging on the situation by going to wrestling bulletin board and found a thread about the quarterfinals that happened to make note of the incident and this comment from a poster called “wrestling observer”:

I saw the Hoselton match and it looked like Cain had him upside down and lost control of him. His neck really got tweaked…Hope he is good to go tomorrow

The wrestler is Andy Hoselton of Prairie Central High School and the same poster then made the following comment;

Cain handled himself like a gentleman…I heard from a direct source Hoselton was out for a few seconds

The bold is my emphasis on the post because that confirms what Coach Tommy Swords had relayed to me.  This brings up a few things in my mind.   Again, I WAS NOT THERE, but if in fact he lost consciousness, this would be indicative of a brain function disruption, and Coach Swords and another source relayed to me that the “talk” in the coaches area was that he was “out of it” in terms of knowing what was truly going on.  A great job by the medical staff to stop him from wrestling, however there were questions whether he would continue the next day in the semifinals. Continue reading