The concussion news cycle seems to have slowed a bit over the past week. Sure there has been plenty of newsworthy events, including cases of kids getting hurt, but the amount of news seen in the searches has dropped quite a bit recently. I must say that over the past few weeks I have seen more and more “mainstream” outlets picking up on the awareness issue. One such case is NPR and a story about products that have been popping up. The title is a bit misleading as mouthguards are not discussed, it does take a look at the Battle Sports Science Impact Indicator;
Battle Sports Science CEO Chris Circo says his product does measure rotational movement as well as direct head impacts. Circo, who’s had five concussions and takes anti-seizure medication, says he knows how complex brain injuries are. In an interview, he is more circumspect than his trumpet-like email to the media.
“Does the Impact Indicator prevent concussions? Absolutely not,” Circo says. “Does it diagnose concussions? Absolutely not.”
But, as advertised, it does help, says Circo. And despite Halstead’s fear, Circo insists the red light goes on reliably — the way it did, he says, in a recent football game when an 11-year-old player took a hit and seemed fine. But the red light lit up and he was pulled from the game. Circo says the player was later diagnosed with a concussion.
“He would’ve kept playing had that light not gone off,” Circo says. “And I can’t imagine what could’ve happened to him.”
Dave Halstead urges caution against products, including the Impact Indicator, because we cannot prevent the injury nor diagnose them reliably with technology at this time. As I have stated products like the Indicator have a place in the arena if only because of awareness. Yes there is a chance that the light on the product will be green and the person will have a brain injury, it just goes to show that technology has yet to catch up. NO PRODUCTS SHOULD BE RELIED UPON FOR CONCUSSION “CATCHING” OR PREVENTING. However having new tools, like the Impact Indicator, can only help with awareness – the biggest issue we currently face. There needs to be caution about what products claim.
Pennsylvania is closer to having a concussion bill in place, after some ‘tweaking’ of the original bill;
Senate bill 200 focuses on concussions. Concussions can cause severe side effects. Some of those side effects will not be immediate but rather could be years after the injury. Coaches and staff members will have to learn not only about the potential effects of concussions, but also about how to recognize a potential concussion. Parents will receive a fact sheet on concussions.
We can do better than this. Parents should be able to let their kids play football confident that the equipment they’re using has been created with the best science and technology for protection of injury.
That’s why I introduced the Children’s Sports Athletic Equipment Safety Act. This bipartisan legislation, which has been endorsed by the National Football League Players Association, would help ensure that new and reconditioned football helmets for high school and younger players meet safety standards that specifically address concussion risk and the needs of young athletes. The bill also increases potential penalties for using false injury prevention claims to sell helmets or any other children’s sports equipment.
There will always be some risk of injury in football — it’s inevitably part of the game. But, we must make sure that athletes, coaches and parents know about the dangers and signs of concussion; we must make sure that they are using safe equipment; and we must take any false advertising out of the game.