White Paper


Sometime today Sports Legacy Institute (SLI), headed by Dr. Robert Cantu and Chris Nowinski are going to release a “white paper” that will “plan to spread successful NFL policy changes to all youth sports,”  this according to Irvin Muchnick via his blog Concussion Inc.

What is a white paper?  Glad you asked it is important for context (via Wikipedia);

A white paper is an authoritative report or guide that helps solve a problem. White papers are used to educate readers and help people make decisions, and may be a consultation as to the details of new legislation. The publishing of a white paper signifies a clear intention on the part of a government to pass new law. White Papers are a ” … tool of participatory democracy … not [an] unalterable policy commitment.[1] “White Papers have tried to perform the dual role of presenting firm government policies while at the same time inviting opinions upon them.”

It is mentioned that along with SLI, Boston University’s Center for the Study of Chronic Traumatic Encephelopathy (headed by Dr. Ann McKee) will be in the white paper as well.

I will be interested to see what exactly they are going to be reporting on and discussing for possible decision-making.  Reading this blog and its comments you would undoubtedly find my “white paper” on this subject.  Since this is a good time to rehash that information I will do it, however probably not as succinctly as the two powerful groups above.

The Concussion Blog White Paper (Bullet Point Style), by Dustin Fink MS, ATC

  1. Independent research to avoid conflict of interests dealing with individuals under the age of 19 as it relates to concussions.
  2. Legislating athletic trainers for high schools (at the least districts) that have collision sports.
  3. Mandating all physicians come up to speed on current concussion information/management.
  4. Creating a national “think tank” with all areas in this battle represented.
  5. Proper and prudent management techniques including removal from school for adolescents.
  6. Limiting full contact days in collision sports, including heading in soccer.
  7. Proper use of the term “brain injury” and how professional athletes words/actions trickle-down to the youth.
  8. Understand that this is an agile issue and that not one thing should be considered “gold-standard” until further notice (except for REST and the mantra less hits are better).
  9. Expand research and resources to develop more advances in technology and assessment procedures.
  10. Putting to rest the stigma of concussions, and truly understand this goes beyond the professional sports (see NFL) and is common in action sports, soccer, lacrosse, and the spectrum of play.

I am sure I have more on the subject.  If you would also like to read other more critical analysis of the ongoing troubles, especially in the NFL, read on…

Slate/Deadspin article by Stefan Fatsis;

NFL players have a schizoid relationship with their jobs. While Lewis’s current and past declarations of love for football represent an extreme, most players are passionate about the sport, including (if not especially) its inherent violence. Love to hit and be hit, part of the game, worry about the consequences later. But not a single NFL player is unaware of the lasting damage he is inflicting upon himself. So before joining the league’s PR campaign, Lewis might have considered the linebackers who came before him, as well as his own, to-be-determined post-retirement health. Because for players like Ray Lewis, football isn’t forever-it’s temporary. The only forever is the pain.

Beyond Chron/Concussion Inc. article by Irvin Muchnick;

Comes now the National Football League with a PR blitz out of the school holding that the best defense is a good offense. Sunday’s Super Bowl telecast will include a 60-second NFL “public service announcement” recapping the history of its bold efforts to make football safer. An existing feel-good website, nflhealthandsafety.com, soon will be supplemented by a new one promoting rules for a safer sport.

(Nflhealthandsafety has Pittsburgh Steelers neurosurgeon and ImPACT “concussion management software” entrepreneur Dr. Joseph Maroon demonstrating that a concussed player can be assessed for return to play in a “two-minute drill” of neurological benchmarks. The site also pictures Zack Lystedt – the brain-maimed Seattle youth player who inspired state-by-state “Lystedt Laws” pushing “solutions” like ImPACT – getting one of the thrills of his life when he meets Baltimore Ravens thug Ray Lewis.)

Credit the Business Insider website with noting that the NFL last year censored a Super Bowl commercial from Toyota that tried to address the concussion issue: The abrupt U-turn “shows the NFL is worried about losing the ethical debate over whether it is right to allow youngsters to play a game that requires them to hit each other with their heads.”

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