Good Idea, but Take Care of Own First


I get why its being done.  In fact I agree with the principle behind the letters to the states, however it is tough to ask for someone to do something that you yourself have a difficult time doing/policing.  The NFL and NCAA sent out letters to 19 Governors asking them to consider concussion legislation (via USAToday);

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NCAA President Mark Emmert are urging 19 governors to support legislation this year aimed at cutting down on concussions in youth football.

Goodell and Emmert sent letters Thursday to governors of states — such as Florida, Ohio and Wisconsin — they said do not have something akin to Washington state’s “Zackery Lystedt Law,” named for a middle school football player who sustained brain damage after he got a concussion and returned to play.

Although both the NFL and NCAA have outlined “guidelines” and mechanisms for concussions themselves, they do have a hard time enforcing them.  A quick glance at just this blog unearths some serious issues: Kris Dielman, Mike Vick, Huffgate, and Bonnergate just to highlight a few.  Just think how difficult that is for an entire state with more than one level and one sport to worry about.  The NCAA should be able to help, but even there they are “recommendations/guidelines”, there are no teeth to the rules.

Legislation is good, but only good for one reason in my opinion: awareness.  That is it, because there are ways to skirt the “laws” and rules, all it really takes is a good network of friends to find a doctor that has no clue and will write “cleared to resume activity” on a small script.  Or, better yet all it takes is a coach/parent to “not notice anything unusual” and the kid to not say anything to anyone.

Until all the medical professionals fall in line with the current best practices and the athletes themselves are fully aware of this injury this issue cannot be resolved by mere legislation.  How bout this novel idea, why doesn’t the NFL and NCAA start pressing the states to have athletic trainers available to (at the very least) secondary schools.  Put some money where your mouth is, allow someone who is professionally trained to be there to assist.  Heck those two institutions REQUIRE athletic trainers, yet the younger level, where more damage can go unnoticed there is very little in the way of support.

Rant continues….

You know where most people get their information about sports?  The world-wide web and television.  You know what sport has the most eyes?  Football.  You know what league has the most influence on sports and football?  The NFL.

I have personally noticed a trend in the right direction with adolescent hockey players and concussion recognition and resolution.  In that post you will see my conclusion; the trend is better because their stars and players are accepting and handling the injury correctly, the trickle down effect – if you will.

I and we have not seen that in football, until the league starts to set a better precedent by being transparent, forthright, honest and humble this issue in football and in general sports will not wane.  The 500lb. gorilla is being allowed to lounge in the room and drink your coffee.

Why are they so scared of the concussion, that is not the issue, the issue is the recovery from concussion.  When in doubt sit them out, and then REST, REST, REST!!!  (after seeing your medical professional, of course)  Then take is slow getting back.  Why rush?

Whew I am spent, have a great weekend and Go Broncos!

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7 thoughts on “Good Idea, but Take Care of Own First

  1. Michael Hopper January 13, 2012 / 11:01

    Spin this back the other way…

    Develop these standards at the younger levels and change the culture of the game in the youth. Then as they grow up, they bring it with them into high school, into college, and possibly into the NFL.

    Yes I would like to see the NFL and NCAA take a harder stand and fix their problems. But I also think it is a good idea to work from the bottom up as well as from the top down..

  2. Dorothy Bedford January 13, 2012 / 12:54

    Well, I am incensed that the Commish and the Prez cited the Washington State “Zackery Lysted” law, which makes no mention of academic accommodations to prevent further cognitive damage. New Jersey’s legislation, developed with the assistance of Neuropsych Rosemarie Moser does cover academic accommodations. See the NJ regs here: http://www.nj.gov/education/aps/cccs/chpe/concussions/policy.pdf (see page 5). So, write a letter to your governors!

  3. BryanATC January 13, 2012 / 21:12

    Sadly some states have laws, but they aren’t far reaching enough. For example in my state of Pennsylvania the law only applies to coaches and athletes officially tied to a school. Youth, club, AAU, CYO, etc. are not required to follow the legislation.

    Again, the entities most likely to have the least available medical coverage are the ones NOT required to follow the law. Really?

  4. Dustin Fink January 14, 2012 / 12:38

    Great comments…

    Hopper: I get you, but really we are instilling that information to the youth, they are listening but when the “king” of the sport does something opposite of what we have been saying it almost cuts our knees out from underneath us. That being said, it is much better, the NCAA is a bit behind IMO…

    Dorthy: Yup, bare minimum, and actually as good as the Washington Legislation WAS, it is now already outdated, a problem we will continue to have with any legislation…

    Bryan: You to have it correct, again to my point about being outdated…

    In Illinois, even though the language and coverage is not far reaching enough, at least there is a bit of agility built into it, so with changing information it can be quickly directed to the high school level, that I like about IL… What I don’t like is well documented on this site…

  5. brokenbrilliant January 14, 2012 / 18:23

    Okay, I’m going to be REALLY cynical here, and assume that part of this action is a “CYA” move by the NFL to shift some of the responsibility for concussive effects on NFL players onto their earlier playing days. If I were a lawyer for the NFL defense, I’d welcome the opportunity to point out that, in and of itself, playing in the NFL doesn’t guarantee brain damage/CTE, but if you played for high school and college teams that didn’t have good safety and concussion management practices, then your likelihood of sustaining concussion(s) and developing post-concussive syndromes is much higher.

    Given the litigation pending against the NFL, I have a hard time imagining that this “benevolent” move isn’t somehow related — and that it probably never would have happened, if there weren’t so much evidence piling up against the NFL.

    Let’s see if this comes up in court…

  6. Mark January 15, 2012 / 10:51

    The NFL is passing the buck again. Where is congress and their findings in this mess. The main area of concern, as Cantu puts it, are sub concussive events. Evaluating, finding out which kids are having this problem and addressing issues that may be causing these symptoms of dizziness, the sensation of seeing stars, nausea and headache should be the first place to start when clearing these kids to play preseason, prior to any play. Identifying orthopedic abnormalities of the head neck and jaw structure in those effected must be the focus. Ultimately many athletes go through an entire career free of these symptoms and have no long term effects of CTE. Why do only some develop this decease, what are the markers and cause and effect. How do we know that these sub concussive events are not the cause of CTE and classic concussion, cou contra cou, is not the culprit. CTE is found in the medial temporal lobe according to Cantu, then why is the surrounding area not the focus, the temporal mandibular joint and its role is a mystery. Why are these questions not being answered.

    • Dustin Fink January 15, 2012 / 15:28

      Welcome back Mr. Picot… For those of you who don’t know him, well let’s just say he is quite the “mouthpiece” for the mouth orthotic industry… Usually spitting out debunked and sketchy information about oral protection and concussions…

      It’s been awhile Mark, hope all is well!

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