Michigan Makes 41 – With Editorial

With Governor Snyder of Michigan about to sign that states concussion legislation it makes them the 41st state by our records with some sort of legislation;

Governor Snyder soon will sign a new bill that will safeguard high school student athletes who suffer concussions.

The bill will require coaches to immediately remove an athlete from practice or a game if a concussion is suspected.

The player could only return when cleared by a doctor.

The measure was approved by the state house last week.

The Detroit Lions and the National Football League are major proponents of the legislation.

Just like the 40 before them this is only a very small step forward in the concussion issue.  We now (I hope) clearly understand that concussions are both an endemic issue with sports/recreation and a present danger.  What these “toothless” bills have done a good job of is raise awareness about the brain injury and effectively make it mandatory to remove a player with overt signs.  Once removed they do have to see a physician to be cleared to return.  That is a great first step, and one that we hope will prevent some cases of catastrophic sequale.

What these bills do not do is help with the recognition of concussions for the vast majority of players that suffer the most or longest after the brain trauma.  In the cases of most catastrophic outcomes the players never reported a problem, nor were they detected by a coaching staff.  In reporting observation only it has been common for those around the situation to say “we never knew he/she was in trouble before they went down,” “he/she never said anything”.  These legislative pieces do not address that, nor do they address the proper management of the injury.

Sure, they get to a physician, but even Dr. Robert Cantu – leading expert – has made mention in his book that a vast number of doctors are often behind and lack the proper training to treat/manage a concussion.  How does anyone know if they are getting the proper treatment?  I will tell you this, if a kid has a concussion and is told they can return to school the next day or even within a couple of day period they are getting bad advice.  If they kid was seen by a physician and was never told to avoid physical, cognitive and emotional activity for the immediate future they are not getting the proper care.

I appreciate the efforts of states and other organizations to pump up the awareness, its better than three years ago when we started here, but more must be done.  There need to be trained health care providers at all practices and games for collision sports, and get this there is such an allied health care professional that is not only highly trained/educated on concussion but all other injuries: the Athletic Trainer.

Having an AT for a game is only acceptable in a pinch, if you truly want to know the players – which is paramount in making clinical decisions – then there MUST be an AT on site all the time.  Who would you trust more with the clinical decision of a mainly subjective injury; a health care professional (who may or may not have the current education on the injury) that sees your son/daughter once a week/month or a health care professional that sees your son and daughter on a daily basis and has open lines of communication with teachers/coaches in real-time AND have the most up-to-date information regarding concussion?

Not only can having an AT on site daily for concussion issues, we handle triage, assessment, management and rehab of all other injuries that occur in sports.

Not that funding would ever be possible for such a wild dream, but legislation must be put in place to have Athletic Trainers present anytime there is a collision sport or practice.  If you cannot afford one then you cannot afford to fund the sport, period.

Would you send you child to a pool that didn’t have a lifeguard?

6 thoughts on “Michigan Makes 41 – With Editorial

  1. Michael Hopper September 26, 2012 / 14:09

    Dustin, you’re absolutely correct. But you’re biased and I’m biased. It doesn’t matter if you’re absolutely correct. If a school cannot afford the services of a full-time athletic trainer, then it has no business playing contact/collision sports. None whatsoever.

    Every Athlete Deserves an Athletic Trainer

    • Matt Chaney September 26, 2012 / 15:59

      I agree, Dustin and Michael, regarding collision sport in the public sector, such as Public Football hosted by municipalities, schools and colleges: Minimally a program must employ a full-time ATC, stationed at every physical activity on and off playing fields (serious injuries can occur in weightlifting and conditioning, for example, including brain trauma and death)–or, if not, that program should cease to exist. That standard is certainly moral and ethical, at this point, if not to become legal soon.

  2. Becky September 26, 2012 / 18:41

    I agree so much. Sometimes having an AD doesn’t work though especially if all coaches involved aren’t on the same page in recognizing an injury. I am new to the web site and trying to find some information on exactly what my son can do with his time in a 24 hour day besides sleep. He received a concussion one month ago. Started back to school after a week of rest and has now been out of school again for over one week. I have found a great deal of literature out there on symptoms of concussion, all of which we are all too familiar with. However, no one including my 12 year old Dr., give us information on exactly what he can do. She continues to say sleep and rest. One cannot rest 24 hours per day. I have an able- bodied 12 year old. She said he could move from the bed to the chair but very little else. I understand no tv, computer, video, movie, play, exercise, text, etc. but unless we put him on some sort of medicated sleep state I don’t think we will be able to follow these instructions. Also I know my son and he will get depressed as anyone would after a couple days like this. Does anyone have advice? Thanks so much.

    • Dustin Fink September 26, 2012 / 19:45

      The rest factor is great, but gradual increases in activity are not only OK but needed for recovery… I would consult with a physician that is highly trained…

      • Educator Mom September 29, 2012 / 12:21

        Dustin is absolutely right. Finding a physician who is highly trained and specializes in concussions/traumatic brain injuries is key. There are clinics out there that coordinate the student athlete’s recovery physical, academic, and psychological. We love our pediatrician but he did not even realize what he did not know until we started this journey 20 months ago.Thankfully within the first few weeks, we were able to get connected with a children’s neurotrauma clinic that has helped us enormously with support from physical therapists, neuropsychologists, and speech therapists (to help with memory deficiencies).

        This journey is not always an easy one. The rest piece is hard for kids who are used to being active and on the go. Early on we used audio books and visits from friends to break up the day. My son was out of school for several weeks and then begin back part time with pretty tight academic accommodations and restrictions. And frankly, had I to do over, I would have kept him out longer. Dr. Don Brady has some great articles out there on concussions (and linked on this site). I hope you have read them. And there are other great links on this site to help you gather information and resources. We were also able to find a local support group through our state’s Brain Injury Alliance.

        I asked my son what he would share with you and your son. His response was this: “Don’t rush things. It’s not worth it.” I would add, know that you are not alone!

  3. brain injury self rehabilitation (BISR) September 26, 2012 / 19:05

    41 States is a start with a small change! I sat in a classroom with about 20 Master’s level nursing students and my grades dropped from A to F and no one noticed my injury! I’m sure there were many other obvious symptoms. I do know there is a program in place at St. Joseph Mercy Medical Center in Michigan that anyone treated in the emergency MUST have follow up visits so patients can be monitored for a longer period of time. That’s what we need everywhere!

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