Military Taking Lead in Research

I have said it many times on the blog, the US Military has been ahead of the game on concussions.  Not only their research but their sudden and correct actions of taking soldiers out of action after sustaining a concussion.  In fact all military personnel who sustain a concussion are not only prescribed rest there is a mandatory 72 hour observation.

From the Defense Department, the US Army Leads the way in this science; Continue reading

Monday Morning Weekend Review

There has been a lot of press about concussions the past weekend, mainly due to the NFL draft, however much information is out there (thanks to Concerned Mom for highlighting some in the comment section).  Here is a quick rundown with links that I find interesting.

Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk makes some great points about NFL litigation and actual player concern;

Supporting that contention will be the fact that no NFL player has retired due to fear of potential harm from concussions.  Yes, some have retired due to the immediate consequences of multiple concussions.  But no NFL player, current or prospective, has passed on playing football at its highest level due merely to the fear that the player may suffer one or more concussions that may cause problems for him later in life.[…]

That’s not to say that claims regarding the NFL’s failure to take meaningful steps before 2009 to protect players from concussions will lack merit.  But as players who now know all they need to know about the risks associated with playing football continue to flock to the NFL, it will be harder and harder to get a judge or a jury to accept that players would have walked away from the sport if they had known then what all players know now.

Agreed on all fronts with Florio here, its tough to sell an Continue reading

“None of us is as smart as all of us.”

The quote in the title is a Japanese proverb, I have read it most recently in a very good book call “The Red Circle” by Brandon Webb; a biography of a Navy SEAL (you can learn a lot from these heroes).  As with most proverbs you can take the meaning and apply it to whatever you want.  In this case we are talking about concussions: awareness, education, assessment, recovery, treatment, etc.

One thing that I hope comes through is that I do not feel that I am a “be-all-end-all” expert, rather I am a devoted husband and father that is an athletic trainer that chooses to spend time paying it forward – so to speak.  I have been asked many times why this blog is here and there are many answers to said question but the underlying reason is simple: raise awareness and bring together all who care to create more understanding and better protection from this brain injury.

The simple fact is that we have only just begun to really understand the concussion injury, each episode (aptly coined by Xenith) is unique; not only from age-group to age-group but from person to person.  We know that males and females react differently, we know that youth and adolescent brains are much more susceptible to lingering effects than an adult brain, we know OR SHOULD KNOW there is no magic pill or course of action to prevent concussions other than living in a bubble, we know that there are very smart people out there with good ideas, we know that information can be controlled by many sources for many reasons, and we really should understand and know that the actual injury is not the elephant in the room, it is how it is handled from the beginning of the process.

Concussions are a process not an event; as soon as the injury occurs what happens next is what shapes the individual brain for eternity, yes eternity.

Where am I going with this?  Continue reading

Coalition for Concussion Treatment #C4CT

Yesterday I helped launch the #C4CT cause via the blog and twitter and it was nice to see the interest really begin to peak (thanks @SchuttSports, @the_jockdoc  and many others).  As with most movements or introduction of products getting interest is the first thing; now with official press release in hand it is time to explain and get more of us going here.

The hard work of Jack Brewer and Alex Nennig (and probably others) of Brewer Sports International have created this coalition which I believe to be a “best foot forward” approach in not only raising awareness and education of concussions (our number on goal on The Concussion Blog) but has a possibility to stake a claim in treatment of lasting effects of TBI.  I am honored to be asked to be a primary supporter of this cause, although as it catches wild-fire I am hopeful more important people jump aboard – looking at you NFLPA and NFL.

It is also an honor to be along side a very strong and promising law student in Paul Anderson.  I have had many conversations about creating such a cause, but have yet to find the trailblazing counterparts until this came along.  Please take the time to read the below press release and join along this weekend in using the #C4CT, even promoting questions from others about the hash tag is an opportunity to inform!

Press Release========== Continue reading

Stigma of Concussions in NFL Draft

The concussive episode, also known as brain injury, is very difficult to grasp for many people; the main reason being that there is nothing we can see outwardly, nor is there a “set” protocol.  Take for example Chris Owusu the Stanford wide receiver who has a brief but intense history of concussions.  Jim Trotter of Sports Illustrated took a very good look at his case and the stigma surrounding concussions in football;

It is against that backdrop that Owusu is entering the NFL. One general manager says he has third-round talent, but gave him a seventh-round grade because of the concussions. Most executives view him as a value pick, meaning he has too much talent to pass on altogether but will only use a late-round selection on him.

Two neurosurgeons and a neurological psychologist recently told SI that there is not an A+B=C formula when it comes to past concussions and susceptibility to future concussions. Factors such as severity of the blow, recovery time and frequency of incident play a role in determining the likelihood of someone being predisposed to future concussions.

That is just one of the many questions surrounding concussions, especially with professional, adult athletes.  It is true; a fully Continue reading


It is a coalition of sorts, really it is a foundation for awareness, Coalition for Concussion Treatment.  Using the background and subject matter of the current litigation of the NFL Brewer Sports International has created a hashtag to help increase awareness, especially today during the NFL Draft.  Below is a synopsis of what and why they are doing it;

Concussions have been prevalent in sport since their inception, but little was known about the severe short and long-term effects they can bring upon an athlete. The topic of concussions in sport, from youth to professional leagues, is one of the most talked about injuries in relation to the sports community, especially in our country’s most popular professional league, the NFL.  Continue reading

The Continuation of NFL Concussion Litigation

Paul Anderson of NFL Concussion Litigation has been busy cataloging more and more filed lawsuits that relate to concussions and the NFL.  From the Twitter feed of @PaulD_Anderson

On the eve of the 1st hearing in the #NFL#Concussion Litigation, there are 65 lawsuits and over 1,500 plaintiffs.

A quick link list of the most recent news;

The amount of players is becoming dizzying to Continue reading

Barca Gets It: so it seems

In a tough match against Chelsea, Barcelona defender Gerard Pique took a shot to the head from the keeper that resulted in immediate Fencing Response. (Video below, sorry for the music all I could find)

Not only was he removed from the game the club has taken a stance that I feel all professional clubs should take with ANY concussion, not only the ones resulting in obvious signs like the Fencing Response; Continue reading

Chaney: Football’s Legal Fire

Matt Chaney has written on the issues surrounding football – legally – mainly at the juvenile level.  In this lengthy blog post (found HERE) Chaney talks about;

  • Football Lawsuits Surge Against Schools
  • Court Defenses and Safety Concepts Hardly Shield Juvenile Football
  • ‘Concussion Testing’ Unlikely to Prove Valid in Court as Diagnostic
  • Various Injuries and Issues Pose Legal Bombs for Juvenile Football
  • Should Juveniles Play Tackle Football in America?

As with about everything that Chaney has produced it is WELL WORTH the read and time.  Below is the topic on the “concussion testing”, I have taken the entire chapter with permission from Chaney; Continue reading

Questions from readers…

It is that time to take questions/comments from readers and answer/comment on them to the best of my ability.  Remember that any information given should be conferred with your doctor.  This information does not take place of actually seeing your doctor.  Don’t be dumb see your doc and use this information to ask further questions.  Without further ado…

From: Hockey Guy, Subject: Stop scaring people

just wanted you to know that what you write about concussions is scaring people into not playing, enough information already, we don’t even have all the information.  i played for 17 years and i am fine.

That is awesome Hockey Guy, the fact that some of my information is actually sinking in makes me smile.  Good luck to you in the future.


From: Concussed, Subject: Letter from reader Continue reading

NBA Concussion Update #5

Our periodical report for The Association.

These do not occur as often as football and hockey for a couple of reasons, one; fewer players equals less incidence and two; the reporting of injuries is up to beat writers, as I have yet to find an official league injury page.  I will be using the standard and ESPN for compiling this information.  Also to note for 2012 is the shortened season due to the lock-out.

There are only two games left (for the most part) but now might be a good time to give an update, since there is information fresh in the news cycle.  Let us begin with the very good news out of Minnesota, as it seems they have listened to us here at TCB;

Kevin Love has passed all concussion tests and been cleared by the NBA to return to the court, but the Minnesota Timberwolves aren’t about to take any chances with the new face of their franchise.

The other bit of news is the stunt that Metta World Peace pulled yesterday in the Thunder/Laker game;

Metta World Peace knocked James Harden out of a Sunday afternoon game at Staples Center. It’s not clear when Harden will be able to return to the court.

The Oklahoman reported that Harden was diagnosed with a concussion after taking World Peace’s swinging left elbow to his head during the second quarter of Sunday’s game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Lakers.

Below is our current count of concussions in the NBA for this season (all of last year there were 12 concussions);

  1. Andrew Bogut – MIL – 1/16/12
  2. Jameer Nelson – ORL – 1/27/12
  3. Kyrie Irving – CLE – 2/7/12
  4. Lazar Hayward – OKC – 2/20/12 – Fink’s Rule
  5. Jason Smith – NO – 2/22/12
  6. C.J. Watson – CHI – 2/22/12
  7. Kobe Bryant – LAL – 2/29/12
  8. Brandon Wright – DAL – 3/5/12
  9. Rudy Gay – MIL – 3/12/12
  10. Mickeal Pietrus – BOS – 3/24/12
  11. Eduardo Najera – CHA – 4/7/12
  12. Kevin Love – MIN – 4/11/12
  13. Reggie Williams – CHA – 4/17/12
  14. Chris Johnson – NO – 4/18/12
  15. Andris Biedrens – GS – 4/22/12
  16. James Harden – OKC – 4/22/12


CTE Threshold?

Charles Bernik, MD of the Cleveland Clinic thinks that there may be a correlation to repeated head trauma and a threshold of when degenerative brain disease begins, like CTE.  An article appearing in Science Daily last week discusses this;

A new study suggests there may be a starting point at which blows to the head or other head trauma suffered in combat sports start to affect memory and thinking abilities and can lead to chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, in the brain.

The study looked at 78 “fighters” and split them based on their years of experience, in this study the split was nine years.  Those that Continue reading

Solid and Useful Information for the Layperson

It’s not often that you see an article in a paper or online resource that makes it simple and very understanding at the same time.  Heck, this is the reason the blog began; to share articles like these with everyone.  Janice Youngwith of the Daily Herald in Chicago did just that;

While most people know a youth who has suffered a similar head injury, pediatric experts say more attention in recent years has focused on concussion among professional athletes than kids and teens. They say youth concussions strike directly at a child’s growing brain and can affect the child’s ability to learn.[…] Continue reading

In the category of NOT shocking; Catastrophic Brain Injuries Rising in Football posted a story written by WFMY News 2 about the recent report from the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (NCCSIR);

Monday, researchers at UNC Chapel Hill said catastrophic brain injuries associated with full-contact football appear to be rising, especially among high school students.

They call the increase alarming and said it indicates that more coaches and athletic trainers should change how they teach the fundamental skills of the game.

Until recently, the number of football-related brain injuries with permanent disability in high school had remained in the single digits since 1984.

However, in 2008 and 2009 10 injuries were recorded and in 2011 there were 13 injuries recorded. That’s according to the latest catastrophic football injury research annual report from the UNC-based National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research.

To me it is a double-edged resource; on one hand it is good the “good ol’ boys” of the research world (aka those most listened to) have presented this material.  On the other hand we have published information about this research BEFORE its release recently with the tremendous work of/by Matt Chaney.

The full report from the NCCSIR can be found here, it chronicles the catastrophic injuries from 1977 – 2011.

However with the recent and VERY accurate listings from Chaney there seems to be a difference, which Chaney so eloquently put it in an email to me; Continue reading

Innovative Concussion Care Concept

It seems that I often am applauding the efforts north of the border in Canada, it really seems that they have put a concerted COMBINED effort to seek out and implement innovative ideas.  I don’t think it says much about the United States other than we are all trying to do our best in our own little areas.  There is little consortium or conglomeration of effort, rather “‘A’ has found this”, “‘B’ has discovered this”, “‘C’ is saying this”, etc, etc, etc…

It may be the same up north but with the population centers mainly in fewer areas in Canada it seems that the Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, and Vancouver areas seem to all be on the same page.  This could also be because of the overall influence of the Brain Injury Association of Canada and its influence on such things.

This idea is not from the BIAC, but it has some solid foundations none the less, including our partner in concussion awareness with Kerry Goulet and Keith Priemeau at the lead.  They have created a vision and group of like-minded individuals to create what they are calling Sports Concussion Care Clinic.  Here it is in a press-release; Continue reading

Thought We Could Help Out the Player Safety Czar

Below is our suggestions for the NHL regarding the Raffi Torres hit from last night – BTW it was described by me as pure thuggery – regardless after some time thinking we have composed our thoughts in the format used by the league;

Option A

I am Brendan Shanahan of the National Hockey Leagues’ Player Safety.  Tuesday night in Chicago there was an incident that involved Raffi Torres of the Phoenix Coyotes and Marian Hossa of the Chicago Blackhawks.  This particular incident was not penalized at the time but after reviewing the film and interviews we have determined further discipline is warranted.

In the 1st period Raffi Torres hit Hossa in the open ice, but as you can CLEARLY see the puck was not in the vicinity of either player nor was it just immediately played by Hossa.  As Torres delivered the contact he left the ice and his principal point of contact was with his shoulder to the head of Hossa.

This is a clear violation of SO MANY rules; Rule 48 with states […] and Charging which states […] being the main concern.  Also very disturbing is the blatant lack of respect of a fellow player on the ice.

We understand this is playoff hockey but Continue reading

Editorial: NFL Kickoff Removal/Concussions

If you have noticed the sports news cycle you certainly have heard about John Mara and his comments regarding the possible removal of the kickoff in the NFL to protect against injuries, concussions as the main reason.  Mara used the oft cited decline in concussions with the rule change from last year.

Granted the forces changed but also as I stated in my previous post about the decline, reducing the exposure will reduce the incidence.  It would be like taking driving privileges from 16 year old’s and allowing them to drive at 16 1/2.  The number of accidents and fatalities will drop.  It should be noted that in our data collection of concussions we found only two concussions due to kickoffs, the previous season we found six.  Hardly a monumental decrease, but none-the-less a decrease and if they wanted to reduce the chances they did do that.

I am pro-football; with the proper precautions put in place (see athletic trainers and education).  I am even more pro professional football as it is played by adults that should now have all the relevant information regarding player safety.  Continue reading

NHL Making Mockery of Concussions in Playoffs

You know how I feel about hockey, I love it; and playoff hockey is even more exciting.  The best sporting event I have ever attended was Game 6 of the Detroit/Colorado Series in 1997, there is just something about playoff hockey.  There is also one thing that is becoming more evident about playoff hockey; complete lack of consistency regarding player safety, in particular concussions.

On Friday Ryan Lambert wrote a very poignant article about the “concussion culture” and why it “sucks”.  He basically took to task the NHL and their scaling back of awareness and proper management of the concussion;

We take concussions very seriously,” says the National Hockey League.

“Oh really? That’s great,” says the sports fan. “How?”

“Umm well you see…” replies the NHL, trailing off and looking at the tops of its feet. Continue reading

Melissa Gilbert returns to DWTS

And this is another example of poor concussion management that sends the wrong message to the general public.  Gilbert has returned to rehearsal, reported here and via her twitter account;

Very happy to be back on campus rehearsing with @MaksimC . Now back home to bed.

At the very least she is going home to rest and it seems she was told to sleep.  I surely hope that she recovers in a quick and safe manner; as my wonderful wife thinks she is performing very well, and has a soft spot for “Little Laura”.

We will continue to monitor this situation.

Love with Concussion

It’s the classic “mild” concussion, you know the same “mild” concussion that sat Sidney Crosby out for over a year or the same “mild” concussion that put Jonathan Toews off the ice for 22 games.  You know its only “mild”…  For PETE’S SAKE there is absolutely nothing mild about this brain injury, please read the link!

Wow, I feel better..

Last night in Denver Kevin Love, the Minnesota Timberwolf – or is it Timberwolve – was elbowed in the head and crumpled to the floor.  It took a minute then he was helped to his feet with the aid of teammates and ushered to the locker room.  After that quick stop Love went to a local hospital where he was observed overnight.  Fellow Timberwolf, J.J. Barea had this observation;

“As soon as he got hit, I knew he was out. He was talking, but he wasn’t all there, though.”

Like with other high-profile athletes it will be interesting to see how the recovery is handled.  With Minnesota likely not making the playoffs, the prudent action would be to erase all doubts and sit Love for the remainder of the season.  That is what I would advise, if anyone is listening.

Playoff Hockey: Anything Goes…

Photo courtesy of Sports Grind

So last night Shea Webber bounced Henrick Zetterberg’s head off the glass twice, the intent was obvious; Weber intended to repudiate the questionable check with some “on ice justice” with a hit to the head (you can see a .gif here).  With head contact such a high priority of the NHL and its Player Safety department, headed by Brendan Shanahan, many thought there would be penalties coming down for Weber.

Well, Weber was seemingly given a “slap on the wrist” – Continue reading

Forest for the trees

Everybody knows about the ‘concussion issue’ in the NHL, NFL and hockey and football in general (youth-pro levels). It’s all over the media. Occasionally it will be discussed somewhere else, but it rarely holds attention for much longer than it takes to read or watch the story. Unfortunately, brain injury is so widespread and can be so debilitating that it is overwhelmingly ignored and, unless there’s a feel good story, or someone to blame for the injury, it never gets coverage. Concussion, and brain injury in general, is not a sports story. It’s a health/medical/human interest story with a sports angle, but it’s not a sports story.

There are plenty of stories about people who have been brain injured and how they’ve recovered, but you have to look for them. Stories about pro athletes or children being concussed are much more prevalent, and they’re what most people will read. I began writing this blog because I’m dealing with issues from my brain injury in 2003, I like writing and I like playing and watching sports. I was injured while cycling but the things that I find the most difficult are not sports issues, they’re day-to-day issues. The concussion issue has become prominent in hockey and much attention has been paid to brain injury because of the importance we place on the sport. Unfortunately, I think Canada’s obsession with hockey may be clouding our view of the problem.

The problem is not the lenient rules in hockey. The problem is not that players are bigger and stronger now. The problem is not fighting or illegal hits. The problem is brain injury. Continue reading

Lend Assistance Down Under

I was contacted by a group, Brain Injury Australia, Australia’s peak brain injury advocacy body representing, through its Member organizations in each of Australia’s States and Territories, the needs of people with a brain injury, their families and careers.  More specifically Nick Rushworth the Executive Officer; he was seeking information from this side of the Pacific about concussions.  Brain Injury Australia is attempting to get as much information as possible to create a policy paper on sport-related concussions for the government.  As Nick put in a later email;

The Australian Government is expecting Brain Injury Australia to be able to evidence that it has consulted widely in regards to the policy paper’s contents, so anything you can do to distribute my email as far and as wide as you can I would really appreciate.

So I am asking for all of your (athletic trainers, doctors, researchers, parents, coaches, et al) help on this one.  You can either answer the below questions in the comment section or you can email your responses to me and I will pass them along to Nick, his deadline is the 27th.  Here are the questions he has posed (please only answer not critique the question); Continue reading

NHL Concussion Report – End of Regular Season

Tis the season for undisclosed and cryptic injuries; the regular season is now over as 14 teams have moved to the golf course for the summer.  The NHL’s Second Season is upon us and the pressure has ratcheted up significantly, meaning finding and seeing proper management of any injury – let alone concussions – can be put to the test.

The machismo of sport and the pressure to win the Stanley Cup are so high that players, coaches, and even medical staff’s will take risks to achieve that goal.  If there is one injury that needs to be handled the same, every time, no matter the context Continue reading