Bravo Hockey Canada!

On May 28th Hockey Canada, the governing body of amateur hockey throughout the nation, sent out a press release tightening down on the rules for contact to the head;

  • zero tolerance measures for all head contact or checks in minor, female, junior and senior hockey:
    • in minor and female hockey, a minor penalty shall be assessed for all accidental hits to the head, while a double minor penalty, or a major and game misconduct at the discretion of the referee based on the degree of violence of impact, shall be assessed for any intentional contact to the head; Continue reading

Kentucky Sports Concussion Summit

The 2nd annual Sports Concussion Summit in Lexington, Kentucky is set for June 24th.  The event is set to be a good source of information and a provider for continuing education, especially for athletic trainers (although anyone that will be dealing with concussions is CERTAINLY encouraged to attend);

The 2nd Annual Sports Concussion Summit will feature experts in the field of clinical practice dealing with the prevention and management of sport-related concussions. This conference is designed to review current practices in the prevention, recognition of concussions, and management of sport related concussions. The conference will benefit health care professionals involved in all levels of care and training, as well as athletes, coaches, and parents.

The summit is presented by; Continue reading

Footy Concussion Report Round 10

The Concussion Blog is now tracking the concussions of another collision sport, one with very good media coverage, albeit not in North America.  Aussie Rules Football and its professional league AFL have had an issue with concussion in the past and as we have seen on videos here, they can be scary.  With the help of Sportal we will be compiling the concussions on a weekly basis.

Do you recall my rant two weeks ago about the difficulty finding the injuries, especially at the “Superfooty” website?  Well guess what, they have reverted back to the old method and the method adopted by Sportal.  I still have no idea if anyone down under is reading the blog, THEY SHOULD BE, but I would like to think there is someone paying attention.  Let me take this time to extend an invitation for any team doctor or athletic therapist down under to meet with us, via phone or you can travel over here…  BETTER YET, I believe that I can effort the time to head that way for a symposium tour down under (of course this is a shameless plug to pay for me to see some live AFL), haha.  Seriously though I believe I can find enough “smart” people to create a learning opportunity for the AFL and Australian sports about concussions, email us.

Now with the self-promotion and begging for a trip down under out of the way there has been an increase Continue reading

More Education Needed Down Under

If you have followed our attempts at charting the Australian Rules Football concussions you have noticed my overt tone of frustration.  I have even proposed a “cover up”; that may be way more conspiracy than truth.  I do believe that I have found out a reason as to why we are not seeing more concussions in Australia in all sports, lack of knowledge.

In a Sydney Morning Herald story today about a rugby player there are some very SCARY things the doctors are presenting down under;

Doctors have cleared Berrick Barnes of concussion from last Saturday, instead diagnosing him with a less serious condition called footballer’s migraine, which might also explain some of his previous head injuries that have been put down to concussion.

Waratahs team doctor Sharron Flahive said that Barnes sustained a minor knock to the back of the head while playing against the Lions, suffered a delayed reaction of dizziness, and then had such a heavy loss of memory that he could not remember what year it was, which week of the season he was in, or if he had played for the Waratahs last year.

We are going to take this piece by piece; dizziness and loss of memory are obvious signs of abnormal brain function and should have classified this player with a concussion.  But in Australia they are classifying head injuries as “footballer’s migraine” (by the way FM is a term from research in 1972, 40-year-old information), wait until you see what else the Dr.’s are saying. Continue reading

Very Gratifying Day

I have blogged multiple times about the concussions that I have dealt with in my job.  They are from the obvious to the “right place at the right time”, but finding them is the easy part.  In fact it is becoming much easier at the school I work with as more and more have “bought in” to the system.  Parents, teachers and kids themselves are letting me know about possible head injuries, it is not so taboo around here anymore.

One of my most recent episodes occurred with a pole vaulter, who refused to come to me only basically dragged in by his mother after seeing the blog and knowing what was going on.  His evaluation was straight forward and was definitely concussed, but after 15 days of adjusted scheduling (rest, away from school, graded return), fish oil and listening to our advice he was back to perfect.  In fact his post ImPACT was better than his baseline, but what was even more evident was his demeanor and general disposition, he looked like him again.  He is going to stay out of contact sports for another two weeks before beginning football activities.  A success!

However, this is not the point of my gratifying day.  Remember this day for me and the Continue reading

Maryland’s Concussion Legislation

These really slipped under the radar, but Maryland not only enacted one bill, but two.  Each chamber’s sponsored bill was accepted and signed into law by Governor Martin O’Mally on May 18th; each legislative piece will be in effect on July 1, 2011.

The Senate bill (MD sb0771e) and House bill (MD hb0858e), I believe to be, are the same; here are some highlights…

  • Includes all athletic activities for those aged 19 and younger
  • An informed consent that must be signed by parent/guardian and athlete
  • Removal from game if overt signs and symptoms
  • Cannot return until written clearance from “health care provider”

Maryland becomes the 15th state to enact concussion legislation, by our count.

Wristband for Concussion Cause

We have highlighted the works of good people on the website many times.  I am particularly excited to promote Save Your Brain once again.  This time for their wristband campaign.  Gonoude’s previous write-up was excellent (see here), but we may have missed the opportunity for anyone to feel a part of the cause.

I spoke with Brandon Drummond (co-founder) of SYB and wanted to help out with spreading the word on the “bling” anyone can purchase.  Neither us nor SYB has the means currently to purchase them through a website, but you can contact them directly at to purchase the bands (make sure you indicate you were referred via The Concussion Blog), I believe they are $5 each with shipping and handling as necessary (picture below).  Here is a quick quote from SYB about their wristbands; Continue reading

Concussion At Indy 500

Ho-Pin Tung is trying to become the first Chinese driver to start the Indy 500, however he was dealt a setback when he crashed an suffered a concussion (although they said it was a “mild” concussion, we all know where I stand on that label).  This information was delivered to me via twitter from @djcraske (if you are an open wheel or Indy follower it is a MUST that you get on with @djcraske). had this follow up;

Tung averaged 224.340 mph over the first three laps on the 2.5-mile oval when the No. 8 Schmidt Dragon Racing car spun in Turn 1 and made rearward contact with the SAFER Barrier. It slid down the track into Turn 2.

Tung exited the car without assistance from the Holmatro Safety Team. After being evaluated at the Indiana University Medical Infield Care Center, he was transported to Methodist Hospital for further evaluation. A CT scan and MRI didn’t show any damage.

The INDYCAR medical team will repeat his IMPACT test in seven day — per series rules — to determine at that time if he is medically cleared for racing.

Below is a video of the crash… Continue reading

NSCC: Symposium On Recent Findings

The National Sports Concussion Cooperative will be hosting a symposium on Thursday June 2nd in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  The event will be held on the campus of UNC at Chapel Hill at a location to be determined.  According to the press release;

Panel discussions will address Virginia Tech STAR rating system, concussion legislation, sports medicine and coaching for optimum player safety and parental interests

The key-note speaker is Stefan Duma, PhD, Biomedical Engineering of Virgina Tech who was the lead on the recent helmet rating study.  Other representatives at the symposium will include;

  • Grant Teaff – American Football Coaches Association
  • Mike Oliver – NOCSAE
  • Jason Mihalik – Univ of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Rawlings, Riddell, and others – Helmet Manufacturers
  • National Conference of State Legislature
  • Matthew Gfeller Foundation

The “what” from the press release; Continue reading

New Link:

Former NHL player Keith Primeau has is right, “education is key for all of us when it comes to concussions”.  He has launched his own website devoted to concussion awareness as well,  The website was launched on May 4th of this year at the Hockey Hall of Fame and it has become a great resource for people.  I look to be hooked up with Keith in the future to bring you more options for concussion awareness.

TX HB2038

The Texas legislation pertaining to concussions is moving through the House and off to the Senate floor very soon.  It has been passed by sweeping margins to this point.

TX Bill full text can be seen at link.

We have highlighted this bill previously and here are the highlights;

  • Concussion Management Team: to include physician and at least on of the following; athletic trainer, nuerophycologist, advanced practice nurse
  • Concussion Education: for all those on the CMT, and has to be done every two years
  • Clearance: physician only after removal, signed informed consent from parents/guardians (no coach can clear)
  • Informed Consent: schools to create an informed consent paper to be signed by parents and athletes

Texas has taken a step further in the management system, and it also included junior high school athletes as well.  So far this bill stands up next to Colorado’s in terms of its comprehensive coverage and specific language.  We will keep you posted on its travels though the chambers.

MLB Concussion Update

The number of official concussions in Major League Baseball has doubled in one day; as two players are diagnosed with one.  Brian Roberts of the Baltimore Orioles and Chris Dickerson of the New York Yankees join Erick Almonte on the list.

Roberts is having headaches and it is unknown at this time what is the origin of them, however they are classifying his injury as concussion like symptoms and placing him on the 7-day DL.

Dickerson took a fastball to the helmet that shattered his bill and required him to visit the hospital.  Manager Joe Girardi indicated that he likely sustained a concussion, since has been corroborated via @Ledger_Yankees;

Dickerson has a concussion. He’s in good spirits. Still has mark on the side of his face, cut from broken edge of helmet pinching down.

This brings the season total to three.  As more hit the wires feel free to send us a note.

Soccer Concussion

We see them in all sports, but soccer does have a high rate of concussions to share with the sporting world.  To be honest there are probably a lot more in this sport that go undetected as the nature of the game has one using their head a lot.  The most obvious and vicious are when the foot of a player strikes the head of another, mostly on accident.  Below is a video of such an incident; not only was the player “out” going to the ground there is a slight moment where you can see the Fencing Response.  Add to all of this the player will need surgery to fix facial fractures (he is stable).  Thanks to “Dirty Tackle” of Yahoo! sports for the find.

They removed this video, sorry!!!  The Concussion Blog strikes again, that is twice now…

Ahead of the Game

Axon Sports has worked hard to create a resource for those looking to implement concussion management.  Not unlike Xenith helmets and “The Enlightened Warrior”, Axon has put information out to help with education and awareness.  The title page says;

Welcome to Ahead of the Game – your Axon Sports Concussion Management toolkit. This practical online resource offers cutting-edge tools, best practices, and other items to improve the effectiveness of your concussion management program design, delivery, and discussions.

If you’re involved with a School, League, Team or Club, these tools can help you get your program up and running faster and smoother.

One in 10 young Athletes will suffer a concussion this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The actual number is likely much higher as concussions continue to go unrecognized and underreported. We also know that 80 percent of Athletes will fully recover when their concussion is recognized and managed early. What we don’t know is — who are the other 20 percent?

This information is available for a limited time for non-account holders at THIS LINK.  Another company that is trying to help the cause of erasing the stigma of head injuries, and making more aware of the concussion issue.

Pro Hockey Concussion Insight

Cathy Gulli of has written an article titled “Concussions: the untold story” and in an excerpt released today it looks as though it will be a good read;

Before there was Sidney Crosby, there was Eric Lindros. Both were hockey prodigies as young teenagers. Both were drafted first overall into the NHL. Both won the league MVP in their early 20s, both were captain of Team Canada at the Olympics, and both were hailed as the next Wayne Gretzky or Mario Lemieux. And then, in a fraction of a second, both fell victim to devastating concussions. The toll on Crosby, who has been sidelined since January, remains to be seen. But most fans know that Lindros was never the same after a series of blows to the head—at least eight by the time he retired in 2007. What few know, however—what he’s never talked about publicly before—is the psychological and emotional toll of those concussions.

It does not seem as though this is your typical concussion read, rather it appears from the excerpt that this will include deep dark secrets of the “tough men” of professional hockey.  The subtitle of the article reads “Eric Lindros and other pro hockey players on their depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts.”  Those words ring home to many that have dealt with ongoing effects from head injuries, not Continue reading

Footy Concussion Report Round 9

The Concussion Blog is now tracking the concussions of another collision sport, one with very good media coverage, albeit not in North America.  Aussie Rules Football and its professional league AFL have had an issue with concussion in the past and as we have seen on videos here, they can be scary.  With the help of Sportal we will be compiling the concussions on a weekly basis.

After some difficulty finding concussions down under, this week listings were much easier to find as two players were found along with two curious injury designations.  Let us begin with the interesting listings.

Last week I tweeted about Andrew Toovey and the hit he took; VIDEO HERE via AFL.  Seen in the video is Toovey taking a knee to the head as he was falling then his head bounced off the ground.  As he is taken off on a cart his neck was stabilized and it appeared that Toovey was out prior to that.  His injury is listed as “chest”, but we are going to list this as a concussion.

The other listing was not one we could see on a highlight film, but one that makes me think that the listing is a result of a/many concussions.  Simon Hogan of Geelong has been Continue reading

The Media and Concussions

After being ignored for far too long, concussions and brain injury seem to have been rightfully recognized as the most important issue in contact sports. However, even the medical community is quick to note the dearth of good information about brain injuries. After my cycling accident and subsequent coma almost 8 years ago, the information my family was given had them constantly bracing for the worst. My mom tells me that when she was a kid and she’d ask her dad a question, the answer would invariably be, “Look it up.” That explains her career choice (librarian) and her never-ending search for more information. Yet, even she had a very difficult time finding information that would give her solace or at least an idea of what problems her son would face. Even though my brain injury was more acute and severe than a concussion, both are brain injuries. I think that an extremely important point about concussions is being lost in the extra-subjective and passionate world of pro sports.

It’s fortunate the newspapers like the Globe and Mail and the New York Times were quickly on the issue as it came to the fore in their health and sports sections. As would be expected, the Globe and Mail centres most of their attention on hockey, while the New York Times focuses primarily on football. They’ve obviously done an outstanding job of bringing the brain injury issue forward. An issue will not become important to the public by starting with explanations and definitions, but once an issue goes from afterthought Continue reading

Hockey Quick Hits

1st Period

With Boogaard’s untimely death and the questions surrounding the cause; many in the hockey world are taking this time to reflect on the sport and its violence, from the AP via Washington Post;

“I think the league does a good job. They’re trying to limit head shots,” Tampa Bay Lightning center Nate Thompson said Monday. “I don’t think they can (ban fighting entirely). That’s part of the game. It’s a physical sport and it always has been. If they take that out of the game that takes a part of the history out of the game.”

The NHL can ban any contact to the head, that is a very simple solution to remedy some of the head contact.  Secondly the NHL can enforce the boarding, roughing and cross-checking rules that create possible concussive incidents with hits to other parts of the body.  Thirdly, the players can start respecting one another at a higher level.  This is a systemic problem, not only in the NHL but throughout all of sports.

2nd Period

Patrice Bergeron continues to be out from playoff action for the Boston Bruins after his “mild concussion” in the previous series with the Flyers, from AP via Washington Post; Continue reading

Consequences: By definition, they can’t be avoided

Good, bad or indifferent, consequences are whatever happens next.

The first time I ever truly had the wind knocked out of myself happened when I was a kid (probably 8 or younger), in one of those ‘seemed like a good idea at the time’ moments. For me, climbing trees was less a hobby and more a pseudo-profession (you know, for an 8-year-old). I had climbed, or at least attempted to climb, every tree in our yard, but there was a tree at the bottom of our street that I hadn’t climbed. I realized this one day, perched high in a chestnut tree at the end of backyard and decided that this foolishness had to end. I would climb it!

It was the classic tree-climbers tree. The lowest branch was parallel to the ground and required a good jump to grab. Next I had to swing my legs around the branch (making me look like a scrawny pig on a spit). Done. Now what? There goes my grip and, of course, my legs weren’t in the best position to catch me and I landed flat on my back. As far as I remember, it didn’t hurt, it just scared Continue reading

Trends in Concussion Incidence in High School Sports

Mike Hopper takes a second to review a current research article, we would love to hear your take on this as well.

Concussions appear to continue to rise. Is it due to an increase in incidence or is it due to an increase in awareness? This study was conducted over an 11 year period in the Fairfax County School District in Falls Church, Virginia. The authors note that the numbers saw significant increases over the course of the study, but they do not attribute that to anything in particular.

The researchers conducted an 11 year study in a large school district with a certified athletic trainer on site for games and practices. Each school had 2 part-time athletic trainers from 1997-2005 and then a minimum of one full-time athletic trainer and one part-time athletic trainer after that.

A common occurrence is that football was the leading sport for concussion incidence. I think this fairly well-known at this point and no surprise. Girls’ soccer was #2 on the list which also should Continue reading

To Peer Review or Not To Peer Review

The answer is and has been very one-sided, most everyone trying to make a mark are peer reviewing their research to get publicized.  Heck, when I was in graduate school I was told that is the only way anyone would honor your information.  Basically if you wanted to be respected it was/is a must to be cited in a journal, a well-respected peer-reviewed publication.  Over time I have really become jaded on the whole process, too much money, too much conflict of interest, and too much glad-handing to get in a lot of the journals.  We can even take a look at something we all have come across, “Global Warming”; research in that area is basically hand-picked to make it into publication, and if you are not serving an agenda, one side or the other, you will not appear in certain rags.

At a time when I am trumpeting my information about concussions in the NFL last year and the helmet data it cannot not be more obvious to me.  I have asked many sources to help with putting a “peer-review” piece together and I have been given a myriad of different excuses as to why it won’t show.  Usually, a research piece that has been completed would be easy for some to just say; “yup put my name on it and we will write it together.”  However the reasons I have heard amaze me; Continue reading

Helmets First

For youth, riding a bike is a favorite form of exercise and fun. But accidents do happen and parents should make sure they provide protection for their kids. For many, wearing a helmet while riding a bike is seen as a weakness, but kids should wear a helmet when riding a bike because you just never know what might happen. Dr. Joseph Cangas, a Columbia, IL pediatrician, is on a mission to get kids to start wearing bike helmets. He founded Helmets First in 2004 and gives away approximately 2,000 helmets each year to kids in the St. Louis area. ‘The Helmet Doctor’ not only gives away helmets, but he also educates the kids through school assemblies, bike rodeos, and other safety events.
Helmets First originated when the pediatrician discovered how few of his patients wore a bike helmet. It has continued to grow as this doctor donates his time and works to educate and equip kids and parents with this important information. Not only does he give away helmets, but also the kids and parents are also instructed on the proper fit of the helmet.
I won’t begin to tell you that wearing a bike helmet is going to definitively prevent a concussion because we all know there is no piece of equipment able to do so. I will, however, tell you that a bike helmet can prevent other head injuries and could potentially save lives. The most recent information I have seen recommends replacing a bike helmet after a single impact which is different from many other helmets.

More information about this non-profit organization can be found at

Derek Boogaard

As many have heard the enforcer Derek Boogaard was found dead in Minnesota last week.  This report was filed by Hockey Trade Rumors;

It may be weeks before authorities know exactly how and why New York Rangers enforcer Derek Boogaard died, although foul play is not immediately suspected. The 28-year-old player from Saskatoon was found dead Friday in his Minneapolis apartment. The team announced his death Friday but gave no details.

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner was conducting an autopsy Saturday. County spokeswoman Carol Allis said authorities probably wouldn’t release results for at least two weeks. Minneapolis police Sgt. Bill Palmer said authorities received a report of a man not breathing shortly before 6:15 p.m. Friday. Minneapolis fire officials were the first to arrive and determined he was dead. Palmer said authorities do not suspect foul play at this point, but the police department’s homicide unit and the medical examiner’s office are both investigating. Palmer said the medical examiner will determine the final cause of death. “I don’t think we have any answers as to what happened or why it happened,” Ron Salcer, Boogaard’s agent, said Saturday.

It is not that we are late to the party, but with increased awareness on concussions and our very small “clout” we may have attained Continue reading