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 Tallahassee.com;

“If we make people aware of the fencing response, and they notice it after someone has a head injury, they can make sure to get the correct treatment.”

According to Lifshitz, the fencing response was evident in two-thirds of the concussion cases they studied. He said it is present when animals received brain injuries as well.

While concussions have begun to grab headlines in the media because of the long-term effects seen in professional athletes and war veterans, Lifshitz said researchers are only beginning to understand exactly what causes them, why some people seem more susceptible and what damage they leave behind.

“The biggest problem with concussions is you can’t see them,” Lifshitz said. “It’s kind similar to cancer in that regard. You can’t see it until it takes over — it makes it difficult to talk about.

“That’s why awareness is so important. People have to be confident enough to report the symptoms so that they or their children can receive the appropriate treatment.”

From a personal perspective it was very nice to see the immediate tweets regarding the Fencing Response as the injury occurred.  What is more encouraging is that Shaw is reportedly doing better and hopefully he will make a quick and safe return to football.

2 thoughts on “Fencing Response Awareness

  1. Aaron September 21, 2011 / 20:22

    Here’s a clip. You can actually see his arms up in the first (farthest away) view…

  2. Michael Hopper September 21, 2011 / 22:44

    At the 36 second mark on that video, you can see it perfectly!

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