This is a Problem!

Opening up the email today I saw several articles sent in from various readers, a lot are very intriguing and wish I could comment on all of them, like the recent Grantland article about football collapsing, from the view of economists Tyler Cowen and Kevin Grier.  As you all know this blog is a hobby/devotion based upon free time away from job and family so I try to do my best.

HOWEVER, once in a while there are articles that I must find time for; hopefully good, but in this case a complete head scratcher.  I would like to thank a fellow athletic trainer, Brett Gustman, from Virginia for sending this my way.


If your doctor tells you that because your heart is exposed to greater danger due to some factor, he would suggest that you not eat Big Mac’s any more; would you listen to him/her?  How bout your doctor told you that going jogging on a broken ankle is a bad idea; would you listen?

How about a doctor telling you that you should not wrestle due to your second concussion is less than a month; would you listen?  I assume that most would do so; this is not the case in New York.  Jorge Jimenez of Grand Street Campus, where he is a senior is not listening to his doctor;

Nearly a month earlier, at the Eastern States Classic on Jan. 14, Jimenez was accidentally kneed in the head and suffered a mild concussion. Two weeks after that, Jimenez suffered another head injury at the Mayor’s Cup in Manhattan on Jan. 29.

The doctor, Jimenez said, made a number of recommendations that night: he told Jimenez to stay home from school the remainder of the week and to stay off the wrestling mats until the symptoms went away.

Jimenez listened quietly and hung up the phone when they were done. But on Tuesday, Jimenez, feeling better, attended practice, wrestled with his teammates and ran sprints.

Why would he not listen to his doctor, well to Jimienz its simple, he needs to wrestle for a possible scholarship.  And in New York it seems that he has this opportunity, although after reading the article it seems something is missing here.

According to the article in New York, specifically the PSAL this is how concussions are handled;

For now, it’s up to coaches to determine when a wrestler should return to the mat following a head injury, said Bloom. The only hard-and-fast rule, according to PSAL spokeswoman Marge Feinberg, is that “any student who suffers a concussion needs to be cleared by their doctor before returning to competition.”

Well what is it, the coaches or the doctor?  And if it is the doctor how is even allowed on the mat?

In Jiminez’s case it seems that the doctor has not cleared him, but in the article he has been cleared, by a paramedic.  This charade of saying that;

Zarcone, who has won two city titles since he launched Grand Street’s wrestling program seven years ago, takes offense to the suggestion that he might be putting an athlete at risk.

Is completely wrong in this authors opinion.  He is in fact, placing the child/adolescent in harm’s way by allowing him to wrestle.  The kid went back to strenuous exercise only days after his second injury and still having symptoms.

These are the exact cases that need to be highlighted, as what needs to be changed in this fight against concussions.  The simple fact that this coach, kid and school have limited grasp on the awareness side of things is not unusual, what is…

Continuing to risk your brain health against your doctor’s advice, just to win.

Thank you to Mitch Abramson for writing the article in the New York Daily News.

5 thoughts on “This is a Problem!

  1. Clara K. Showalter February 10, 2012 / 14:05

    This isn’t unusual. I work as a fitness professional. I get people who’ve been told they need to stop eating junk food because it will kill them. They still eat the junk. I’ve got athletes who’ve been told to not run on a banged up joint, they run anyway. Heck we tell people that they should stay home from work when sick, they still come in. Fear is one reason. Fear of letting people down, of losing a job, or of regaining weight if you stop working out.

    Why do a lot of the NFL guys play through injury? Fear that they will lose their playing time if they sit out.

    Common sense doesn’t work well as a counter to fear. Lizard back brain will always win.

  2. BryanATC February 10, 2012 / 15:12

    Maybe someone from New York can give me an answer on this. Is it in the scope of practice for a Paramedic to “clear” anyone from a medical issue? Is it possible when working under “standing orders”?

    I believe there are “standing orders” (i.e. laws and regulations) when a paramedic is part of the EMS system (i.e. dispatched by 911), but how much do you want to bet that same paramedic does not have separate “standing orders” for coverage of a sporting event.

    Regardless of that fact, the coach says the paramedic who evaluated the wrestler Jan. 14th cleared him to wrestle this Saturday. Even if the paramedic can legally “clear” him, the wrestler suffered a second head injury on January 29th which negates the “clearing” from the 14th. If the ATC who evaluated him after the 29th says he had a concussion, the physician believes he’s had 2 concussions, why is he officially “cleared” by a paramedic who hasn’t seen the kid in over a month?

    Someone needs to get a hold of the NY Board of Medicine, Board of Ed, and NYATA. Definitely not appropriate, scholarship on the line or not.

    If I was the ATC in the article I’d be laying low because this process does NOT follow our ethics and procedures.

  3. Tommy Dean February 10, 2012 / 15:38

    It seems to me that the folks making these decisions have a functional issue in THEIR brains that is not allowing them to think at all! (I’m not going to say think clearly because they have an obvious problem to begin with) My opinion is simply that the people making these sorts of comments and recommendations are negligent and should be punished accordingly. Parents included. That is all.

  4. Jake Benford February 11, 2012 / 11:13

    This is exaclty why the decision can not be left to the coach/parent/athlete. They should not be making medical decisions. I would not want them to read an EKG, so why should they be left to make this decison. They do not have the understanding of the potential consequences, and their motivation is counter to what is medically needed. The only way to change this is legislation.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s