Vermont Looking to Make AT’s Mandatory

Given the current state of funds and resources for schools, it would seem this is a horrible idea.  However, it is actually needed and should be done everywhere;

According to Senate Bill No. 4, or S.4, currently sitting in the House Education Committee awaiting word on movement to the full House of Representatives, schools “shall ensure that a health care provider is present at any athletic event in which a high school athletic team participates in a collision sport.”

Granted I am a skewed voice here, but it makes almost no sense not to have an athletic trainer on site; not only for concussion – which is uber-importnant – but for the day-to-day injuries and prevention of injuries.  In the article it was noted only 14 schools in Vermont don’t have an AT, but finding one to cover will become a high priority if it becomes law;

While no one has expressed a disinterest in having such coverage, the cost has been prohibitive — “substantially huge,” according to Merriam — for many Vermont schools.

“To get even a part-timer, it’d be $10,000 minimum, but we’re looking at upwards of double that in all likelihood,” Thornton said. “I’ve researched this extensively, and it’s a challenge in itself to get one to come to our school.”

In all honesty it’s about the money…  How much would you pay to keep your child as safe as possible?  How much should you invest to keep liability down and safety up for all students?

Would you send you kids to a pool without a life guard?  Why would you send you kids to collision sports with out an athletic trainer?

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“Concussions Happen” Video

This is a re-post, sort of, of a video created by Bryson Reynolds a neuroscience graduate student.  His area of study is concussions and mTBI.  He shortened the original video for easier consumption, it still holds the essence of what makes it a good too for us to use; stark and striking objective mechanisms of injuries, across all sports.

It is barely over a minute in time, again this is a great teaching tool for those trying to understand the mechanisms of concussion.  If I counted correct only 4 of the clips show head-to-head contact.  THIS IS EXTREMELY NOTEWORTHY, as concussions occur without direct blows to the head.  Also note the concussions (presumed by the filmmaker due to descriptions of the original videos) that occur due to contact with the ground or ball.  Perhaps the most disturbing videos are the last two, youth sports.

Who Wants Research Monies?

There are plenty of people out there that think they have the answer to the concussion issue.  From helmets (G. Malcom Brown) to mouth gear (Mark Picot), to assessment, to rehabilitation, to research, the whole lot of it.  Well now is your chance to put forth your best effort and get some money for research on your products or your ideas.  The National Institutes of Health and the NFL have created the Sports and Health Research Program;

The Sports and Health Research Program (SHRP) is an innovative partnership among the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Football League (NFL) and the FNIH. Launched in 2012, the program aims to help accelerate the pursuit of research to enhance the health of athletes at all levels, past, present and future, and to extend the impact of that research beyond the playing field to benefit others in the general population, including members of the military.

There is an agenda of sorts; regarding what they are looking at going forward (see article) but they are giving grants for those that meet the criteria; Continue reading

A Chuckle and Video

I really don’t have much for this quote found in this article;

“I have a theory on concussions,” he said. “I think the reason there’s so much more of them — obviously the impact and the size of the equipment and the size of the player — but there’s another factor: everyone wears helmets, and under your skull when you have a helmet on, there’s a heat issue.

“Everyone sweats a lot more, the brain swells. The brain is closer to the skull. Think about it. Does it make sense? Common sense?” said Carlyle, who said he’d never talked to a doctor about his premise, which he was introduced to by Jim Pappin, the former Leaf who also played his career helmet free.

“I don’t know if it’s true, but that would be my theory. Heat expands and cold contracts. The brain is like a muscle, it’s pumping, it swells, it’s a lot closer to the outside of the skull.”

Stick to coaching hockey, eh!

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The ESPN article and video (click link or below) regarding the NFL Concussion Litigation; Continue reading

ESPN OTL Article Sparking Quite A Debate

On the surface this article may be innocuous to many, but the the minutia of concussion research and information is coming to a head very quickly, especially pertaining to the NFL.  Tomorrow is the first hearings in front of the judge – and the possibility of total dismissal – for the concussion law suits filed by thousands of former NFL players.

ESPN and its Outside the Lines department (in conjunction with Frontline) filed this article taking a look at two of the most prominent people in the concussion research/awareness arena, Dr. Robert Cantu and Chris Nowinski;

Two prominent concussion researchers — including a senior adviser to the NFL — served as paid consultants to law firms suing the league for allegedly concealing the link between football and brain damage, according to interviews and documents obtained by “Outside the Lines” and “Frontline.”

The article written by Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru-Wada sheds light on the very issues the research community faces with this problem.  Some of this information can be classified as “not new” to people who participate in the constantly shifting arena of litigation and research, while some information can be deemed as scathing.  There is a very tight and ubiquitous line in this matter;

Researchers often are asked to appear as expert witnesses in legal proceedings related to their fields. The NFL suit, with the potential for billions of dollars in damages, has created a large demand for researchers with expertise in the science of concussions.

But some researchers said they have turned down such requests despite the potentially lucrative payoff out of concern the perceived conflict could compromise their research.

Conflict of interest (COI) is something we all need to pay attention to, although it applies to this current article, the COI in this field is rampant and often unchecked.  This is nothing new, players have talked about COI, other journalists have noted it, and one of our prominent commentators (Dr. Don Brady) on the site has even devoted some of his dissertation to COI.

It would seem this is nothing “new” in the world Continue reading

Archaic Thinking/Management of Concussion Not Just a N. American Issue

I have cataloged this problem many times in many sports across the world.  It seems that perhaps the focus and glare is greatest here with North American sports (mainly football and hockey), but this problem extends further.  This issue perhaps came to a head in the UK over the past week with this article by Tom English;

Barry O’Driscoll played rugby for Ireland in the Five Nations championship of 1971.

As a respected doctor (whose son was team doctor for Ireland and the Lions in the recent past) with a background as an international full-back he became an important figure on the International Rugby Board where for 15 years he held positions on the medical, anti-doping and disciplinary committees. Until late last summer, when he resigned.

Dr. O’Driscoll left his post because of the way the International Rugby Board (IRB) was/is handling concussions on the field and in general.  As an aside, the IRB is a founding partner of the Zurich statement as well.

What would make a highly trained and well-respected doc – with rugby in the blood – step away?  Take a look, specifically at what happened to his nephew;

After one collision too many that day Brian O’Driscoll lost his bearings, was clearly unsteady on his feet and had to be helped from the field, like a boxer assisted from the ring. You did not need experience in pathology to know that the great man was out of it for a moment in time. Yet a few minutes later he was back on the pitch, supposedly as bright as a button and fully recovered.

He was back on the field because ?????;

There is an accompanying rule now – still on trial – and it states that if a player with suspected concussion can pass a series of tests lasting five minutes then he can be allowed back into the fray: the Pitch Side Concussion Assessment (PSCA) – or the five-minute rule.

Even worse the “new” rule was not even in place when his nephew sustained his concussion, leading the good doc to question what the sanctioning body and the medical board was doing;

“Rugby is trivialising concussion,” he says. “They are sending these guys back on to the field and into the most brutal arena. It’s ferocious out there. The same player who 18 months ago was given a minimum of seven days recovery time is now given five minutes. There is no test that you can do in five minutes that will show that a player is not concussed. It is accepted the world over. We have all seen players who have appeared fine five minutes after a concussive injury then vomiting later in the night. To have this as acceptable in rugby, what kind of message are we sending out?

“If a boxer cannot defend himself after ten seconds he has to have a brain scan before he comes back. And we’re not talking ten seconds for a rugby player, we’re talking maybe a minute that these guys are not sure what’s going on. They don’t have to have a brain scan, they have to have five minutes where they have to stand up straight without falling over four times, they have a basic memory test – ‘What’s the score? Who are you playing against? Which half did it happen in? And do you have any symptoms?’

“These questions should serve as a landmark for when you examine them six hours later to see if they’re getting worse or if they’re bleeding into their brain. That’s why you ask them, not to see if they can go back on. They are already concussed at that point. You don’t need to ask questions to find that out. If six hours later their responses are worse than they were earlier you say ‘Wait a minute, this shouldn’t be the case, is this guy going to bleed?’ That’s why you ask the questions and so it has always been. But we’re going in the other direction now. We’re going from being stood down for three weeks to one week to five minutes with players who are showing exactly the same symptoms. The five-minute rule came out of the blue. I couldn’t be a part of it so I resigned from the IRB. It saddened me, but I couldn’t have my name attached to that decision.”

As you can clearly see some places are not quite ready to accept the real issue of concussions – not the actual injury – the mismanagement of the injury once it occurs.  If the IRB places the new “five-minute pitch side rule” into place they are going in the absolute wrong direction.

If any player in any sport shows clear signs of concussion they should be removed and not allowed back in, period.  Even Zurich, which the IRB is part of states this.  Dr. O’Driscoll is merely saving his reputation by stepping aside, and in my opinion it is the exact correct move.

 

The Experts Tell Us Why Athletic Trainers Are Needed

You don’t have to take my word for it here, you can watch this video and let the experts in the field tell you;

Although we are not there yet, there are financial barriers, and some misnomers about the profession; athletic trainers should be a must.

As I have clearly stated: “If you cannot afford an athletic trainer you cannot afford to have collision sports, period.”

Hey here is a bonus, athletic trainers are also some of the best at on the field orthopedic injury assessment and injury prevention in the WORLD.  Doctors even defer to the knowledge of an athletic trainer when it comes to sports injuries.

Mayo Clinic Looking into Autonomic Response to Concussion

Neurologists at Mayo Clinic in Arizona have taken a promising step toward identifying a test that helps support the diagnosis of concussion. Their research has shown that autonomic reflex testing, which measures involuntary changes in heart rate and blood pressure, consistently appear to demonstrate significant changes in those with concussion.

Appearing on their website, the information researchers are delving into is a new angle on  concussions.  It is widely known that traumatic brain injured (TBI) patients have autonomic system (ANS) deficits/abnormalities.  However the group from Arizona thought an investigation into concussed patients was worth the effort.  Low and behold their findings are a promising first step in possible assessment and management of the concussion.

One interesting note, was this notion on dizziness;

“Contrary to popular belief, the symptoms of ‘dizziness’ that patients feel just after a concussion may, in some cases, be symptoms of autonomic system impairment rather than a vestibular or inner ear disturbance,” says Bert Vargas, M.D., a Mayo neurologist.

No one is telling you to take blood pressures with assessment (ergo baselines), yet, but with this information could come not only objective testing but biomarkers associated with ANS changes;

“This study shows a possible electrophysiological biomarker that indicates that a concussion has occurred — we are hopeful that with more research this will be confirmed and that this may also be a biomarker for recovery,” he says.