Mouth Gear Comments

If you have not been following the comment section you have missed a debate on mouth gear and concussions (Please feel free to enter into the conversation).  I believe that the information about how there is no current evidence that any oral device can attenuate concussions or help with symptoms related to the injury of concussions.  Here is a statement from the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Sports Medicine Handbook – 4th Edition;

“The effectiveness of mouthguards for preventing or reducing the risk of sustaining a concussion remains controversial. Research continues to be done on the different mouthguards and their properties to answer this question, but there is currently no reproducible evidence supporting the use of any mouthguard to protect against concussion in any sport.”

For a health care professional dealing with sports injuries this should be a telling statement.  However there are those out there trying to push a product and make money on the misinformation about concussions.  Below you will see some of the exchange and the prime example of why there continues to be a problem. Continue reading

2011 NFL Concussion Report: Week 3

The Concussion Blog Original, NFL Concussion Report, is a weekly compiling of the reported head injuries in the National Football League.  Concussions are added to the list each week from multiple sources to give you the reader a picture of what is happening on the field.  Each week we will bring you the information along with relevant statistics.  If we have missed a concussion or put one on here erroneously, let us know (we will also be using Fink’s Rule to classify a concussion/head injury).

Last week was void of the “big incident” like Week 2 and Mike Vick.  There was another quarterback who sustained a concussion, Kerry Collins, was removed from the Sunday Night game and evaluated for a concussion.  That is now two weeks in a row that Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth have had the opportunity to expose and educate the viewers about concussions (with limited results).

The reporting of the injuries during the games is becoming  a bit better as 45% of the reported concussions this week were identified prior to the NFL’s Official Injury Report coming out Wednesday.  We also have BREAKING NEWS about concussions in the NFL Continue reading

Hockey Canada’s Headshot Rule

Hey NHL, is it really that hard to adopt a rule already in place in the minors?  It would be great news to hear that when the season opens this weekend the NHL and Gary Bettman announce that shots to the head will not be tolerated.  The rule has been described in an article from Airdrie City View;

Rule 6.5 penalizes direct and accidental contact to the head. A minor penalty will be assessed for accidental contact and a four-minute double minor penalty, a five-minute major penalty or a 10-minute game misconduct will be assessed for intentional contact.

Incidental contact includes shoulder-to-shoulder or shoulder-to-chest hits where the follow-through makes contact with a player’s head.

There will be descent from players and coaches but making tough decisions is part of the job Mr. Bettman.

Hockey Helmet Fitting in Canada

If you live in Canada, or very near Canada, you will have the opportunity to visit a Source For Sports store and be fitted correctly in your hockey helmet.  Below is more specific information;

Keith Primeau, former Philadelphia Flyers captain and co-founder of applauds the efforts of Source For Sports® stores across Canada who are hosting Helmet Fitting Week September 26th to October 2nd.  Everyone is encouraged to bring their helmet to their local Source For Sports® store, no matter where they purchased it, for inspection and fitting assessment in the Head Zone.

Source For Sports® is proud to be partnering with  “It is amazing how our helmet manufacturers including Bauer, Reebok, CCM, Easton and Cascade, the medical community, and the athletes who are willing to share their story, have come together to address this issue.  Our young players and their families are important to us, as is this issue”.

Before you hit the ice it’s important to have the proper fitting equipment, take the time to get your helmet looked at.

Another “Retirement” In College Football

Nolan Brewster of the University of Texas has become the latest player in college football “retiring” due to head injury.  Brewster has been told that continuing in the sport he loves would not be good for his overall health.  As recently as September 17th Brewster was dealing with the demons of concussion;

“I started to worry about getting a migraine or a concussion with every hit,” Brewster said. “The UCLA game (Sept. 17) was really the tipping point where I had to come out of the game and they diagnosed me with a severe concussion. When we got back to Austin, [team trainer Kenny Boyd] had me go through a series of tests…and they all felt like it would be best for me to stop playing.”

“It’s something we’ve been monitoring very closely,” Boyd added. “We’ve talked to Nolan and his family extensively about the situation…we felt it was in Nolan’s best interest to no longer play football.”

It’s always disappointing when a kid has to give up football because of a medical condition, but safety comes first, and the good news is that Brewster will be able to stay on scholarship while he continues school.

Unfortunately for the players we are seeing more of this, but fortunately there are people looking out for the welfare of the players.  John Gonoude will keep us up to date on the happenings in college football as the season progresses.


Many NHL Players Coming Back From Concussion

If you are a casual follower of sports then you for sure know the plight of Sidney Crosby and his long comeback from his concussion he sustained on New Years Day.  Recently he has been doing “much better” according to sources and believes that he is much closer to a return to full go;

Sidney Crosby believes he is getting closer to being cleared for contact.

The Pittsburgh Penguins’ star was pleased after going through another trouble-free practice Monday, a day after taking part in a scrimmage in which hits were banned.

“Obviously, the more good days you have, the nearer you get, and, hopefully, we’ll get there shortly,” said Crosby, who is recovering from a concussion that occurred more than eight months ago.

However there is a huge difference between practice in a controlled setting, where no hitting is allowed, and an uncontrolled game.  It would be a massively different story if the NHL were to ban shots to the head, but that is a rant for a different day.  The reason you know about “Sid The Kid” so well is that he is not only the face of a franchise but the NHL itself.

Is Crosby the only one dealing with such issues?  The answer is an emphatic no.  Below are other players in the NHL using the off-season to get healed up after concussion. Continue reading

New Book On Concussion

Released September 15th “The Concussion Crisis: The Anatomy of a Silent Epidemic” authors Linda Carroll and David Rosner take an in-depth look at all the situations plaguing this concussion issue; from awareness to assessment to recovery.  Recently in Men’s Health the authors did an interview, answering some of the biggest questions;

Men’s Health: Why don’t you think people take concussions more seriously?

The problem is that concussions are what we call an “invisible” injury. By that, we mean that it has no outward signs and it can’t be seen on conventional brain scans. So, doctors—and patients themselves—need to go on symptoms, which can be subtle. If you’re a coach, for example, it’s hard to get as concerned about an injury you can’t see as one you can see, like a broken ankle.

MH: Why can’t players just wear thicker helmets?

The way to fix the problem is not through better helmets. This isn’t a perfect analogy, but it will give you an idea of why that’s so: Continue reading

Vick RTP Debate

Clearly the decision to let Mike Vick play this week has come under some scrutiny from many sources.  I have been asked many times my thoughts on this issue as well; it is much more difficult to take a stance on something that really none of us know first hand.  That being said there is no reason anyone cannot give an opinion on the matter.

Barbara Barker of Newsday sought out two opinions; one from a former player and another from an authority in concussions;

“I’m going to be watching him to see how he responds after he gets hit,” said former Giants linebacker and Hall of Famer Harry Carson, who suffered multiple concussions in the course of his career and has been diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome. “I’m sure he’ll go out there and do well, but if he doesn’t and gets hit the right way, there’s no telling what might happen.”

“Frankly, even from a fan’s perspective and even with someone as good as Michael Vick, I would have been happier to see them err on the side of caution,” Nowinski said. “Another concussion right now is the worst-case scenario. Michael Vick could be the Sidney Crosby of the NFL.”

I believe that there are more than Carson, Nowinski, and myself Continue reading

2011 NFL Concussion Report: Week 2

The Concussion Blog Original, NFL Concussion Report, is a weekly compiling of the reported head injuries in the National Football League.  Concussions are added to the list each week from multiple sources to give you the reader a picture of what is happening on the field.  Each week we will bring you the information along with relevant statistics.  If we have missed a concussion or put one on here erroneously, let us know (we will also be using Fink’s Rule to classify a concussion/head injury).

It has been a couple of weeks since the last NFLCR, the preseason wrap-up, but that is not because of lack of information.  Rather, it was merely a case of time management on my part, my bad.  So we present the concussion report through Week 2 (as an aside, you will see our stats in Sports Illustrated’s Med Check by Will Carroll throughout the season as well).

Again the Philadelphia Eagles provided a “jump-start” to concussion awareness in the NFL, with the unfortunate friendly fire injury to quarterback Mike Vick.  There has been enough “dissection” of that particular injury so no need to pile on; but Eagles Athletic Trainer Rick Burkholder and the medical staff in Philly have been doing a proficient job of making sure he is ready to return.  Taking away Vick’s injury there was another quarterback that sustained a concussion last week.  As Alex Smith of the San Francisco 49’ers was listed with a concussion following the game on Sunday versus the Dallas Cowboys.

Enough of the particulars and the “pretty boys” Continue reading

Lingering Effects Of A Concussion: Girls Soccer Case

If you have read the blog enough you know that concussions not only have an immediate and short-term consequences, but lasting effects.  With any injury this is the case, however the sequelae of each injury is far less known.  What is becoming more apparent is that bashing your brain around can cause not only physical issues (balance, dizziness, etc.) and cognitive impairments, but emotional/social changes that are much more difficult to define.

As we all remember growing up, and if you have kids of certain age, adolescents seem to go through personality changes as the hormones begin to set in and the transition to adulthood begins.  It would be fairly easy to dismiss subtle changes in a person and chalk it up as “teenagers”.  However, there are cases that can be attributed to the mismanagement of concussions; not allowing for the proper recovery of the injury. Continue reading

Chance At A Free Helmet From Xenith

I was sent this information from Xenith, here is your chance to get an X2 or iPad2;

“Sign up to win your own Xenith 2.0 football helmet! Xenith is partnering with leading sports medicine doctors and athletes to deliver concussion awareness, injury prevention, and performance tips directly to your phone.

To sign up text the phrase football tips to the number 41411 or go to to sign up via email. By signing up you will be entered to win an X2 football helmet or an ipad2. Join us in helping to keep kids in the game”.

Concussion Management: Change is Happening!

I have noticed a major change in how we have been able to manage concussions at my school since this new legislation. When it initially came out the school personnel, athletes, and parents were reluctant and upset with the new requirements. I, on the other hand, was ecstatic because it put the athletic trainers in the forefront and helped bring to light the issue of concussions along with the issue of the lack of athletic trainers in secondary schools.

I am solely responsible for concussion management at the school that I am contracted with. In August, I spoke numerous times at parents’ meetings, with the athletes, and with the coaching staff. I spoke at length with the school nurse. All of them received information from the Illinois High School Association and CDC regarding concussions. The coaches, administrators, and school nurse were also provided with the return to play protocols.

It is important that we as athletic trainers take control of concussion management. Most others are not educated to do so nor Continue reading

Fencing Response Awareness

This past Saturday Kenny Shaw of Florida State took a hit that resulted in immediate medical attention.  Although the protocol called for neck precautions the reaction of Shaw upon getting hit led to many observers to see a common indicator of a concussion.  As Shaw was “sandwiched” between the defenders his arm involuntarily became flexed in a position that has been identified as the Fencing Response.

Video from YouTube and commenter Aaron…

Discovered by students under the mentorship of Jonathan Lifshitz, PhD of the University of Kentucky Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center.  This finding and observation in a game was highlighted by an article in; Continue reading

Suggestions For Return To _________

In light of Tracey Meyer’s post about her son and his plight with a concussion, in particular the academic setting, I feel it is a good time to highlight the work of Don and Flo Brady.  Don is part of the National Association of School Psychologists, and with is wife wrote an article about Sport-Related Concussions.

Below is the excerpt about the return to Play from the NASP Communique, Home, School and Social Settings;

Suggestions for Returning to Play, School, Home, and Socializing

The complex, varying, and individual central nervous system response to a brain insult and resultant concussion injury not only justifies but also requires a comprehensive assessment from a readily available and qualified multidisciplinary team of healthcare providers (McKeag, 2003). The utilization of a multidisciplinary team is particularly essential since consequences of a concussion include both neurological and nonneurological effects. Suggested members of this healthcare team may include the following: physician, neurologist, neurosurgeon, psychologist, neuropsychologist, school psychologist, teachers, school administrators, optometrist, ophthalmologist, coaches, athletic trainer, speech pathologist, occupational therapist, and physical therapist. Equally important is the Continue reading

Hockey Gets Underway Friday

The National Hockey League began its preseason media blitz yesterday with a heightened awareness on the head injury in the sport of hockey.  Last season the NHL adopted Rule 48, banning blind side contact to the head, it was later expanded at the Winter General Manager Meetings to include lateral contact.

At the same time other leagues were continuing with their rules of no head contact; International Ice Hockey Federation (international sanctioning body of the sport), the NCAA, and possibly the biggest contributor of NHL talent the Ontario Hockey League.  The NHL with the ingrained “tough guy” mentality of the general managers and the deep seeded tradition of the game seem to be missing the point.

The league’s best players, Continue reading

Another Mom Lends A Hand To TCB

As The Concussion Blog enters into its second year of existence many have given their opinion of our work here; some negative but a great majority has been positive.  Along with the critiques (always welcome) has come an urge for people to write and share experiences.  This has mainly been accomplished in the comment section of the posts, but others like Michelle Trenum have given time to write and send information. 

Today I would like to introduce another Parent Advocate, Tracey Mayer.  She will be offering up her writings to The Concussion Blog as a resource to the readers, especially the parents out there.  As time allows she (and possibly her son Drew) will be submitting posts for you to read.  I truly hope that everyone gets a chance to read about concussions from yet another perspective.  Thank you Tracey!

TRACEY MAYER — Thursday, September 14, was the three-year mark from the date my son, Drew, sustained a concussion during a freshman high school football game.  My heart was heavy that day, as it is to some extent every day, but I also felt energized on the anniversary; based upon all that has been accomplished in the areas of concussion awareness, education and research since his injury.

Drew attended a day of training for a leadership program at his high school on the anniversary.  One of the topics the students will be presenting to underclassmen is depression.  The leadership group was looking to find someone Continue reading

What can sport teach society about brain injury?

After all of the attention paid to concussions over the past year, it seems that sports, notably football and hockey at the youth and pro levels, are the some of the few aspects of society that are beginning to comprehend that a concussion is a brain injury. Sports leagues across North America are focusing more on concussion and brain trauma and are trying to understand this complex injury. Statistically speaking, I know I shouldn’t take anything away from the first week of the NFL season, nor should anything be gleaned from the treatment of a single player (Sidney Crosby) in the NHL from his brain injury over 9 months ago, but I am heartened by the apparent acceptance and the attempts to comprehend the brain injury situation in sports.

In the first week of the NFL regular season (and from the small amount of US college football that I’ve seen in the past month), I have seen several big hits that have certainly left the receiver/ball carrier hurting – and with second thoughts about attempting the same route again. These hits, however, did not involve a shot to the head, nor did Continue reading

Sunday Night Debacle

Sunday Night Football (TM by NBC and NFL) was going to be a good watch with Mike Vick returning to his original place of employment.  Not only was that an underlying tone, the Atlanta Falcons faced an early season “must win”, the first half it did not disappoint as both teams scored and forced mistakes from the other team.  As the second half began it looked as though the visiting Eagles were going to take full control of  the game, and to be honest my interest started to wane a bit, then Dunta Robinson happened again.  It was his hit in Week 6 last year that started the avalanche of eyes on concussions in the NFL.  Tonight he basically did the same thing – the hit seen below (will be removed by NFL) and should be met with both a fine and suspension – and brought attention to the broadcast for what became a massive debacle in my opinion.

Later in the drive, not only did Jeremy Maclin return to the game after the hit from Robinson (and being “down”), he caught a pass from Vick, but behind the play Vick was injured.  As you can see Continue reading

ESPN OTL Takes on Cantu’s Stance

Outside the Lines on ESPN interviewed Dr. Robert Cantu after he made public his stance on the issue of youth sports.  I have embedded the video from ESPN via YouTube.

I would like to highlight not only Dr. Cantu’s take but also a VERY GOOD journalist that has covered concussions, Peter Keeting at the back end of the video.

In the accompanying story by Ian O’Connor of ESPNNewYork, Harry Carson believes that the state of football and its aftermath may be similar to playing Russian Roulette;

Carson played through all of his undiagnosed concussions, if only because that’s what NFL players did in the ’80s. He knew something was wrong when he struggled with his vocabulary during interviews, a problem that inspired him to secretly listen to language tapes on his drives home from practice in the hope, he said, “of retraining my brain.”

Carson was diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome Continue reading

Helmet Maker Fears Realized

On August 22nd, Derek Sheely was in contact drills with his college football team at Frostburg State in Maryland.  After some reported blows Sheely became ill and collapsed, he was immediately rushed to a local hospital then transferred to a trauma center in Baltimore.  Sheely was in critical condition until he died on August 28th;

Derek Sheely’s death certificate states he died Aug. 28 of a traumatic brain injury as a result of helmet collision, almost one week after he collapsed at practice, said Kenneth Sheely of Germantown.

The fact that mom and dad are without their son from an accident is unfortunately becoming news that is both Continue reading

Mild Concussions

Some of the most important posts will be re-published from time to time.  This one was published January 2 and May 12.

Hogwash!  There is NOTHING mild about a concussion, period.  However media, teams, players and even medical staffs continue to use this nomenclature with this injury.  It is simply counterproductive to label this injury with a “mild” tag, and hampers the effort of everyone trying to increase awareness.

Granted, those that have extensive training in the area of injuries, and particularly head injuries, understand the term “mild” when it is in concert with concussion.  This subset of the population is not the one that needs the education, rather it is the general public, which includes players, coaches and parents.  A common problem amongst people who are educated in a particular field is that they forget about both who they are servicing and the education level of people other than their peers.  It’s a fine balance to educate without talking down to others, but understanding the stigmas of the topics help with that effort.

One serious stigma is the “mild” tag that is placed on concussions.  Those that watch and participate in sports are Continue reading

Win A Free Helmet

Schutt Sports is giving away a new helmet a week to anyone sending photos via their Facebook page and getting the most “likes”.  I can think of an athletic trainer (or two) that would LOVE to get some new helmets for their programs.  Heck parents may want to go this route as well;

Schutt will post a new challenge on its Facebook wall every Wednesday, instructing fans to go online and find specific types of photos showing Schutt gear in action. Participants have until the following Tuesday night to find a qualifying photo, post it to Schutt’s Facebook wall and recruit the most “likes” for their entry. The person whose photo earns the most likes by the end of the week wins a free Schutt helmet of his/her choice. Winners can also choose the color and style of their new helmet and facemask.

Good Luck!!!

That’s A Wrap: Week 3

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.

This past week was an adventure in the athletic training room and on the sidelines, providing some good stories/information/learning experiences for me to pass along.  It began the last time this series was posted; after Tuesday’s practice a player approaches me and informs me his head is bothering him.  Naturally I asked him when it started – fully expecting him to tell me just last drill – and he told me “yesterday during the game.”  I don’t know if you have seen the clips from Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly during their first game, but that is exactly how I felt.  He had multiple opportunities during the game, after the game, a phone call overnight, in the middle of the school day, before practice, or during practice to let me know about his issues.  Instead he waits until after practice and a full day of school to let me know about his injury.

Wednesday arrived with the injury list continuing to expand Continue reading