I know we all think of late August and early September as football season, but there are other sports out there that deserve some attention as well. I do empathize with the football coaches that constantly tell me we are “picking” on that particular sport – we are not. It is tough to overlook a sport that garners the most eyes and advertising around here. That being said there are other sports either just starting, gearing up or in the final stretch that deserve note.
Baseball is grinding to the playoff push and under the radar is the fact that catchers are finally being honest about their heads. Many have hit the DL this year for concussions, most recently Joe Mauer of the Minnesota Twins. Certainly there have been others but it is worth noting that late in the season, seeing catchers develop concussions should not, nor will it be a surprise in the future.
Summer heat does not make one immediately think of ice rinks and hockey pucks, but Canada’s most popular sport will soon be getting into camp to prepare for the upcoming season. When the puck does finally drop in early October (Go Avs!) the NHL looks to improve on their better handle on concussions. But, the bigger reason for preparing for the hockey season is the upcoming Ice Hockey Summit II, held at the Mayo Clinic;
The prevalence and consequences of concussion at all levels of ice hockey are concerning. Reduction of concussion risk, as well as improved concussion diagnosis and management require a collaborative effort from medicine, psychology, sport science, coaching, engineering, officiating, manufacturing, and community partners. This quality scientific program focuses on education and generates an evidence-based action plan designed to make a difference.
If you have the time an resources you should attend, even if hockey is not your #1 sport; plenty of learning to do from some great minds, like:
- Michael Stuart, PhD
- Christopher Giza, MD
- Micky Collins, PhD
- Ken Dryden, JD
- Margo Putukian, MD
- Charles Tator, MD
- Jeffrey Kutcher, MD
- Jason Mihalik, PhD
- And many others
The even it October 8th and 9th in Rochester, Minnesota and you can find the brochure HERE.
That wraps up the North American favorited sports, but there are still other sports out there worth watching and noting when it comes to concussion and for the enjoyment factor.
The Barclay’s Premiere League is in the early part of its fixture and with more television coverage here in the States it is worth paying attention to. Not only could sport junkies, like myself, find another team to root on (Swansea City) but we can see how they will be handling the inevitable concussion. We would like to think in the wake of the 4th International Consensus Statement from Zurich that handling of concussions are similar. The truth be told, they are not, assessment and management of concussions is steeped in your learning background. It is no surprise that concussions handled in the UK are different from America; there are myriad of reasons but its a chance to observe and learn, either way.
Finally, I will give a quick “shout-out” to a passing passion of mine, Australian Football, also known as Footy or AFL. The excitement of this sport is wonderful – once you figure out the game and get past those dudes giving the “guns” on scores – but the athletes also are predisposed to some horrific hits and collisions. Making this an interesting inter-sport paradigm with American Football and concussions. Their season is just about over and ready to begin the playoffs, and as I have been doing for the past three years I have been tracking the concussions from Down Under. Interestingly, I am seeing a strong correlation between both “football” games and concussions as the season progress. I know it is hard to find on the tele, but you can certainly try the interwebs to enjoy and observe this courageous sport, Go Magpies!
As you can clearly see, although the massive focus on sports and concussions revolves around American Football there are plenty of other case studies one can look for if they choose. Enjoy the next few months…
I’ve always talked about the other sports. Many people think concussions are a football injury, but they’re not!
I think the difference about baseball is that concussions are a) rare and b) truly accidental. Justin Mourneau gets a concussion when sliding into 2nd base, as the shortstop’s foot kicks him as he jumps over the sliding Morneau. Joe Mauer gets a concussion as a batter’s swing extends and hits him with the bat in his follow through.
In short, unlike soccer, hockey and football, there is no use of the head as a technique within the play of the game. Especially with new rules that prevent catchers from blocking the plate, they’ll become even rarer.