Promote the Profession x 2

Paul LaDuke runs the website dedicated to the athletic training profession; giving snippets of our daily work and even frustrations.  In a recent post Paul published a Facebook status that eloquently highlights frustrations with some coaches.  I must say that I have had few instances of “problems” but when they arise they are the bane of our existence.  I will share the fb status with you and then go to this LINK for Paul’s breakdown;

I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You weep over wins and losses and you curse the ATC. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That victories, while glorious; and losses while tragic, are not nearly as important to me as the health and safety of my athletes. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, keeps kids safe.  You don’t want the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about with other coaches, you want me on that sideline, you need me on that sideline. We use words like professionalism and loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a career spent protecting something. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the safety that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way.

The theme is obviously from “A Few Good Men”, but it does pretty much sum it up.


In Paul’s most recent entry Continue reading

Delaware Makes 32

Delaware Governor Jack Markell signed into law a concussion act for the state, the basic principle is “when in doubt, sit them out”.  The law mimics other states with concussion training for coaches as well as informed consent for parents and athletes.  The best part of Delaware’s law is that it extends to junior high school aged kids, not just high school.

Before a player returns to play they must be medically cleared, similar to other states and the NFHS.

List of states, HERE.

Austin Trenum Follow Up

Last year we were privileged to share with you a mothers note about her son and her great loss.  Austin Trenum never returned to the family on that fateful Sunday in November and Michelle, his mother, reached out to The Concussion Blog to share her thoughts.  After a very long road of recovery that included a new concussion policy for the Prince William County school district, authored by Gil Trenum, and a tough decision to donate his brain to Boston University the wait is over for answers.

The Trenum’s have received the answers that they felt from day one; Continue reading

No Boxing For Kids

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian counterpart (Canadian Pediatric Society) have urged parents to keep kids out of the ring or sports that focus on head and face contact, like MMA;

“In boxing, children and youth are encouraged and rewarded for hitting the head. We’re saying, don’t put kids in a sport where hitting the head is condoned and encouraged,” said Dr. Claire LeBlanc, co-author of the new position statement and chair of the Canadian Paediatric Society’s Healthy Active Living and Sports Medicine Committee.

The new policy statement is published in the September issue of Pediatrics, and was released online Aug. 29.

The news was not met with fanfare everywhere, Continue reading

That’s A Wrap: Week 1

The weekly blog of an athletic trainer covering high school sports, including injury recaps.  This is an insight into the daily life/profession of an athletic trainer.  All incidents are meant for educational purposes and names/teams may be changed in order to protect identification.  That’s A Wrap will post on Tuesday mornings as a recap of the previous week and any upcoming highlights.

Week one of fall high school sports is always greeted with high anticipation.  A majority of time has been spent on preparation for football but there are other sports going on as well: Cross Country, Golf, Girls Tennis and Volleyball.  In the future there will be injuries in those sports but this week was all about football.


The season technically began on August 10th with the opening of camps for all sports, with the weather possibly being a concern with the heat indices near 110 the previous weeks some extra preparation was needed.  I was able to communicate with all the coaches and Continue reading

Didier Drogba

There has been some recent gain in the area of concussion in the sport of soccer, or futbol that is.  Since the Gael Clichy incident here in the States more news stories have been about players missing games due to head injuries than those staying on the pitch – which is good.

The most recent – and high profile – is of Didier Drogba of Chelsea, being knocked out by an errant goalie punch and falling to Earth like a lifeless manikin; Continue reading

Progressively still

Frontline recently re-broadcast a documentary about concussions that it had done in April. The story revolved around a football team from a private high school in Arkansas. The Shiloh Christian program was used primarily as a backdrop for the central theme: the intensity, pressure and the resulting disregard of health issues – notably concussions – in high school football in the US.

It was interesting – and kind of disturbing – to see how easy it is for coaches, parents, players, to convince themselves that the ubiquitousness of the basic football mantra of ‘hit hard, hit often’ somehow destined them to a football player assembly line to produce the same product as everyone else. Like there was nothing they could do but keep hitting as forcefully and as frequently as they could.

Football players in the US, the really good ones anyway, Continue reading

Other Side of the Coin in Va Tech Helmet Ratings UPDATE

We have highlighted the work done by Stefan Duma of Virgina Tech on the STAR rating system for helmets.  I have said that a proper system to help with informed buying is key for education and awareness purposes.  I continue to believe that Duma’s work is a good start as it relates to this, however there are some flaws.  The Concussion Blog was created to bring awareness on all fronts, whether I agree with it or not.  There are always opposing view points and we are willing to listen to all of them, the comment section is a prime example of this.

Staying with the goals of the blog I received an op-ed piece from Schutt about the STAR rating system, I feel it is both important to publish and reflect on the information.  Below is the full article along with contact information if you have questions; Continue reading

IndyStar Simpson Story

Phillip Wilson of IndyStar wrote a story about the helmet with the first comments from players about it.  Wilson has uncovered some interesting players that may be donning the helmet, even if in practice;

Defensive end Dwight Freeney tried one Monday for about 30 minutes. Tight end Dallas Clark, who has had multiple concussions in his career, has been fitted. So, too, have center Jeff Saturday and offensive lineman Ryan Diem.

“Clark loved it,” said Simpson, who is in a partnership with accomplished auto racing team owner Chip Ganassi on the venture. “It’s significantly better in impacts than what they have been using.”

Continue reading

Simpson Speaks and We See UPDATE

Bill Simpson was interviewed on TV (6 News), The Indy Channel talking about his helmet, video here.  This marks the first time he has publicly spoke about the helmet and there are some interesting things we have learned because of it.

1. As reported in the comment section of the last post about the helmet, Simpson has sold Impact Racing to focus on football helmet making. Continue reading

NFL Concussion Update Preseason Week 2

Half way through the preseason and there have been just as many reported concussions as there was all preseason and week one last year.  The count is 24, but not to worry as the increase, in my opinion, is mainly due to the increased awareness of the writers/journalists covering the teams.

I feel a lot has changed in this area, previously when a player was sidelined with a head injury it was rarely reported by the press.  Now if a player exhibits any signs of a concussion there is an immediate question and a better lead for people who look into that sort of thing; along with that is the heightened focus on the head due to rule enforcement and possible fines being levied.

It is good the awareness is getting out there, but I think one more place needs the proper education.  Announcers, as highlighted by the post by Sporting Jules, would do well with the proper information.  On Sunday Night Football Continue reading

New Title

Last year when the blog began I ran a weekly “blog series” titled Friday Night Lights, usually wrote after the game and appeared on Monday-ish.  This year I think I am going to change it a bit and I need a new title.  Reason for the change is both a possible trademark issue with the name and since our games are Thursday, Friday and Monday’s I wanted to encompass all of them.

This “series” will be more than concussions; it will continue to be about athletic training and high school sports.  I have been warned not to identify the school I am working at, although some may already know, not because they don’t want it rather to avoid any identification of athlete injuries, you know that HIPAA thing.

I am asking for your input via the poll below, Continue reading

Bill Simpson Enters Football Helmet Race

As we learn more about the concussion issue there are people trying their hardest to provide as much protection as possible for those that play the game.  From new assessment techniques to proper rehabilitation of the injury there is a myriad of different ways we can help out.  The most important is erasing the stigma and educating all those involved in sports, particularly football.

Right now (and for the discernible future) there is no equipment, including helmets, that can protect/attenuate/prevent concussions, it is just a physics impossibility.  However technology has come a long way in reducing the force transmitted to the head via helmets, with Riddell, Schutt and Xenith being the main focus and Rawlings a recent entry.  There have been a lot of people looking at auto racing helmets for their ability to disperse forces, but there is a problem with them. Continue reading

Another Blogger Thinks More Education Is Needed

Sporting Jules, presumably from Colorado was watching the Broncos/Bills preseason game last night and had some immediate observations on a hit that was penalized.  Rookie safety Rahim Moore of the Broncos hit wide receiver Donald Jones on the sideline that resulted in a flag.  Jules wrote about it on her blog;

By “hit/tackled,” I could have said “helmet-to-helmet hit” or “unbelievably illegal shot to the head,” and I wouldn’t have been wrong.

Two things bothered me greatly in this play’s immediate aftermath:

  • Despite the fact that Jones fell to the ground with his arms in a stiff posture and his helmet partially knocked off by the hit, local Broncos announcers never ever uttered the word “concussion.”  Instead, several minutes later, Continue reading

Zack Bowman, DB Chicago Bears

Usually I do not call into question the medical teams of professional sports unless there is a huge “red flag”.  I don’t do this to be a jerk, rather to show what the stigma of concussions really is; an uneducated population.  Case in point Zack Bowman of the Chicago Bears, who laid on the field for a period of time in the first preseason game against Buffalo after delivering a hard hit to Paul Hubbard.

Initial reports had Bowman sustaining a concussion but later that was denied by the organization and Bowman.  Granted the teams do not have to disclose injury information during the preseason this issue steams of misinformation, via (bold my emphasis);

Chicago Bears cornerback Zack Bowman said Monday he was “good to go” and didn’t suffer a concussion Saturday, but then Bowman was held out of practice. Continue reading

ER Doc Disconnect

Last week we ran a story about how there seems to be a disconnect between doctors, primarily ER docs, and the concussion issue (via @pirateatc).  It is going to take some extra work by those that know about this injury to educate those that do not have the full story, including doctors.  After that post I received an email from a reader I would like to share that with you (below in italics).


I’ve been reading your blog on almost a daily basis.  You’ve got great stuff that your writing about.  I commend you for your work.

I concur on the concern over the primary care physicians and the Emergency Room docs.  There really does seem to be a disconnect.  As I noted at our concussion summit, when we surveyed our members and asked them their thoughts about the knowledge of the primary care/ER MDs and the majority of them rated them as fair.  When asking what percentage of cases were either a) not recognized as a concussion b) cleared before appropriate guidelines, the response was about 70% of MDs either do not recognize the injury as a concussion or b) clear them before current guidelines.  That’s a big problem.

There was a recent article published in the J Emergency Medicine Continue reading

NFL Concussion Law Suit Version 2

It is the first of its kind, a class action law suit that not only includes the seven plaintiffs, but can include everyone that played in the NFL.  The plaintiffs are: Jim McMahon, Joe Thomas, Ray Easterling, Wayne Radloff, Gerry Feehery, Mike Furrey, and Steve Kiner.  They span a football career collectively from 1970 to 2010.  The other suit filed in Los Angeles with 75 plaintiffs is more specific to the “quelling” of research and includes a helmet maker as well.’s story explains this well;

The players accuse the league of training players to hit with their heads, failing to properly treat them for concussions and trying to conceal for decades any links between football and brain injuries.

The plaintiffs include two-time Super Bowl champion Jim McMahon, who has said he played through five concussions but now frequently walks around “in a daze” and forgets why he entered a room.

The suit accuses the NFL of negligence and intentional misconduct in its response to the headaches, dizziness and dementia that former players have reported. The suit, filed Wednesday, seeks medical monitoring along with funds to pay for the care of injured players.

The league has yet to see the suit but is contesting the claims being circulated in the press.

Comprehensive Article From LA Weekly

Kids are the reason there is so much buzz about concussions.  The professional player understands the risk and is getting paid to take those risks, kids are not.  The other more important reason is that a younger brain can be more adversely affected by an insult/concussion.  Steve Jansen and Gus Garcia-Roberts wrote an extensive and comprehensive article titled: Concussions Take a Terrible Toll on America’s Young Athletes.

Across the country, people have awakened to the sometimes irreversible damage of concussions, especially in high-impact professional sports. With much of the attention focused on the National Football and National Hockey leagues, Village Voice Media conducted a nationwide investigation into the consequences of concussion on youth athletes.

The article finds that there are some inherent gaps in the former and current systems for concussion recognition and return to play.  A lot of the confusion Continue reading

Hockey Camps Almost Open; What Have We Learned

North America concussions are mainly focused on two sports: football and hockey.  Rightfully so as the youth level of these sports are ever growing so the impetus is on all of us to be aware of the injury and it’s proper management.  Sean Meister of Fox Sports ran a story about the work that has yet to be done in the NHL;

It’s worrisome when a player of Crosby’s importance continues to encounter symptoms eight months after the injury. Yes, Crosby is the face of the NHL in many respects. His injury is harmful to the league and is causing some headaches for the NHL brass. Fortunately for those in the NHL offices, they don’t have to suffer the same headaches as Crosby.

The reality is that Crosby is a 24-year-old with a serious injury to his brain. Nothing should take away from that scary reality.

Although Rule 48 was put in place, some modifications still need to be made in the NHL.  How about this change/update; Continue reading

Ten Reasons Your School Needs an Athletic Trainer

  1. A certified athletic trainer is the #1 healthcare provider trained and educated to work with athletes.
  2. A certified athletic trainer is trained to handle emergencies whether it’s a broken arm, a neck injury, or cardiopulmonary. All athletic trainers are trained in life-saving skills such as CPR and AED use.
  3. Athletic trainers are one of the best-educated professionals to recognize and manage concussions.
  4. Athletic trainers are proactive and spend a lot of time trying to prevent injury.
  5. Athletic trainers have hundreds of hours of related experience before they ever step foot into a full-time job. Continue reading

NFL Preseason Concussions – One Week In

Last season in our limited experience of tracking concussions, there were eight found during all camps and preseason games.  This year our resources are better and there are more willing to contribute (thanks Noodle), and through one preseason game we have found 12 of them.  You read that right, there have been 12 concussions/head injuries unearthed to this point.

So what does that mean?  Not much in my opinion.  If you noted in the final update from last year, I theorized that we will see an increase of reported concussions due to more exposure on the injury.  There will also be an increase due to the reporting by the athlete, we hope.  From the beginning of camp in 2010 through the end of the playoffs we found 172 concussions, Continue reading

Corwin Brown

The former Michigan star and coach for Notre Dame has been hospitalized due to a self-inflicted wound after a stand-off in his Indiana home.  Fox News has the report;

A statement released by Brown’s family said he became suspicious, distant, gloomy, exhausted and depressed after playing eight seasons in the NFL.

“We believe Corwin is suffering from symptoms similar to those experienced by the late Dave Duerson and were caused by the many notable collisions during Corwin’s career in the NFL,” the family said. “For those reasons, Corwin chose to not disclose his symptoms, as he did not want to bring shame to any coach, team, organization or the NFL. Continue reading

Concussions End A Baseball Career

Drew Cumberland of Pensacola, Florida and Pace High School was a fast rising star since being drafted by the San Diego Padres.  by the age of 22 he had seen action at the AA level and even appeared in a spring training game for the parent club.  However his career is now over, as a player, due to concussions and vestibular issues.  Bob Heist of wrote a good story on how a promising career was ended.

Cumberland is like any other typical high school “stud” that played many sports, also a true competitor that would play through pain and a little “headache”.  His earliest known/documented concussion came in 2003 as a freshman in football but later Continue reading

MLB Concussion Update #7

Nothing is more scary than a baseball coming back where it came from, really fast.  Some of the time the pitcher gets leather or a hand on it, others the ball makes contact with the head, previously we discussed it with Juan Niciaso.  This time Al Alburquerque a relief pitcher of the Detroit Tigers was stuck in the head but not on the mound, rather during batting practice;

Alburquerque was writhing on the ground in pain after a line drive off an Oriole player’s bat smacked him just above his left ear — but the fact that he was conscious was a good sign that the rookie reliever would be OK.

The Tigers are optimistic that Alburquerque, who was placed on baseball’s new seven-day concussion disabled list Friday, will fully recover after being hit during batting practice. Continue reading

Louisiana Adopts Law

The state of Louisiana becomes the 31st to enact a law designed to protect athletes from concussions.  There are actually two separate bills signed recently, one deals with concussions the other the scope of who is “in charge” with the injury;

Under Roy’s bill, that provider can be anyone from a licensed doctor to an “official responsible for judging or supervising the athletic competition.” Under Cheek’s bill the provider must be a physician, a nurse practitioner, a licensed physician assistant who has been trained in neuropsychology or “concussion evaluation and management.”

Cheek’s law applies to all organized sports — whether in school or an independent league — from age 7 and up, but not professional sports.

The law will require parents, athletes and sports officials to become educated about concussions.

Good to see another section of the United States getting the word out, but I take umbrage with the fact that the licensed athletic trainer is not included on the list of healthcare providers, specifically.