OK, I am a little late to the party on this one. However, this underlines another aspect of the concussion issue and why awareness is key for EVERYONE. Soccer, although worldly popular, is not a “main stream” sport here in the US and the plight of these world-class athletes and their concussions can be overlooked by the masses. Since Liga BBVA began following The Concussion Blog more and more email in the inbox has been directed to futbol or soccer as we know it, making this a good time to look around.
I found this article by Stefan Bondy on USSoccerPlayers.com;
Despite its obvious penchant for head clashes and flying goalie fists, soccer is often overlooked as a concussion hazard, especially in a country dominated by the other “football.” But given the debilitating nature of the cases in Major League Soccer – albeit a number smaller than in the National Football League – it’s clear there’s an issue that needs to at least be explored, if not corrected.
We have explored the Twellman case, being the most highly publicized of them due to the Boston media coverage and the impetus of Twellman himself to expose and educate others about his issues. But there are many others and it seems, as Bondy said, more soccer players are being forced out due to concussions than other sports (hockey not with standing).
An interesting tidbit was how MLS was using NP testing prior to the NFL and if Bondy is correct they are using it more diligently than the NFL (per Scott Fujita in Chaney article). Also standing out to me is the return to play guidelines/protocols or lack there of;
But the time-line for concussion recovery is a murky area, and MLS leaves that interpretation entirely up to players and team doctors. Twellman, for instance, played eight straight league games following his concussion in 2008. Marshall sustained four concussions during a 12-month period between 2006 and 2007, ending his 2007 campaign two months early. Eskandarian sat out most of 2005 after suffering three concussions in three years.
Ross Paule was only 29 years old when he retired from the Columbus Crew because of post-concussion syndrome. Five years later, he still struggles with blurred vision and an inability to focus.
Bondy went on in the article to interview Rick Guter, head athletic trainer for the Red Bull’s;
He said there’s no public protocol for treatment, but his personal rule is that a player must be symptom-free for a week before he plays again.Guter, who has been on the US National team medical staff since 1995, watched concussion treatments evolve from a hazy process to something scientific, particularly over the last five years.
Long-term effects now carry greater importance, he said, as well as hidden symptoms that can’t be uncovered in a conversation or a memory test. Guter also admits there that “for a long time there was quite a bit of confusion on how we should treat concussions.
And Ross Paule agrees;
Paule said the league should at least explore the idea of standard treatment guidelines. More importantly, he said, players should learn to police themselves.”As an athlete, you’re always taught to get back out there and play with injuries and give it all,” he said. “But if something doesn’t feel right, get in and see a neurologist right away. Know the risks and get looked at. If you don’t feel right, don’t go out there. It’s easier said than done, because when you make it the highest part of the game, you can trick yourself into believing that you’re feeling fine. Concussions aren’t something you see. It’s a complicated thing.”