Report Hidden in Foreign Press

This report was brought to my attention by Matt Chaney, it details a study of former NFL’ers;

Unusual activity in the frontal lobe, observed in former National Football League (NFL) players as they carried out a cognitive test, matched records for heavy blows they had received to the head while on the field.

“The NFL alumni showed some of the most pronounced abnormalities in brain activity that I have ever seen,” said lead author Adam Hampshire, a neuroscientist at Imperial College London.

“(The) level of brain abnormality correlates strongly with the measure of head impacts of great enough severity to warrant being taken out of play.

“It is highly likely that damage caused by blows to the head accumulate towards an executive impairment in later life.”

NFL games have come under growing scrutiny for what critics say is a dangerous rate of concussions after hard blows to the head.

Some have drawn links between the on-field physical traumas and later neurological problems such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, which in turn have been blamed for depression and suicide.

The new study does not find evidence of disease, but highlights brain areas that may have been affected by repeated, severe impacts. And it says standard tests do not pick up this subtle damage.

This has been reported on by several “non-sports” media outlets but I cannot find it on a link to a popular sports news source, if you have let us know in the comments…  This link is from ABC, Australia…

Here is a LINK to the full text, titled: Hypoconnectivity and Hyperfrontality in Retired American Football Players.

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AAP Confirms What We Have Been Saying For Some Time

This past Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics released their findings of a research project on helmets and mouth guards in high school aged football players, the lead was this;

High-tech helmets and custom mouth guards do not reduce concussion risk for high school football players any more effectively than low-cost helmets or off-the-shelf mouth guards, a new study says.

This is a point we have been trying to hammer home since the inception of the blog; simply Physics does not allow for current technology to reduce or attenuate the true forces that cause concussion in the vast majority of the cases.  Those would be: acceleration, deceleration, rotation and angular vectors that cause the brain to shift inside the skull.

The most important thing about a helmet is that it’s well-maintained (regularly reconditioned) and has a proper fit.  Certainly there is some merit to the newer helmets padding designs for helping with the true linear forces reaching the skull; however helmets are doing what they’re designed for – preventing skull fractures and facial injuries.

It is unlikely that a helmet – as we currently know it – will abate those pesky forces attributed to concussion.  In reality if that is where the fix needs to come from then we will most likely be looking at some sort of apparatus that is attached to the shoulders that basically harnesses the head down.  The issue there, of course, is the range of motion to allow a player to see and move in a safe way.  Regardless this information presented by the AAP is nothing new but wonderful because it comes from a group that has “clout”.

What is more interesting to me – and a bit of an endorsement of our words – is that simple Continue reading

2013 Week 7 NFL Concussion Report

The Concussion Blog Original, NFL Concussion Report, is a weekly compiling of the reported head injuries in the National Football League.  Concussions are added to the list each week from multiple sources to give you the reader a picture of what is happening on the field.  Each week we will bring you the information along with relevant statistics.  If we have missed a concussion or put one on here erroneously, let us know (we will also be using Fink’s Rule to classify a concussion/head injury).  It also should be noted that due to the league not disclosing actual injuries until Friday night there may be some added to next weeks numbers.

What if?  What if the trend we are seeing continues?  What does that mean?

Interesting and important questions; being mindful that this is one year out of four and we have yet to see a yearly trend of lower concussion numbers.  Simply it means that, perhaps, the NFL is on the right path.  The numbers are starting to become hard to ignore and we have what some like to call a “developing story.”

What I don’t want to see is those reporting on this to pontificate that the NFL has a handle on this issue, it will take a few more years of this type of reporting to proclaim that.  All of that being said it is very interesting to us here and worthy of a deeper look.  As we highlighted last week, it seems that policies are starting to take root.

The numbers are as follows for concussions/head injuries through Week 7 (indicates previous weeks values);

  • 6 concussions/head injuries found from Week 6 (7)
  • 45 regular season concussions noted (45)
  • 105 total concussions in 2013 (99)
  • 7.29 Concussions/week (7.50)
  • 123 Projected Concussions (127)
  • 0.48 Concussions/game (.50)
  • 8.41% InR (8.66)
  • 7.30% EInR (7.52)

Running Totals for Regular Season:

  • 25 Offensive (22) – 26 Defense (23)
  • Positionally Speaking
    • QB – 3 (1), RB – 6 (6), TE – 3 (3), WR – 8 (8), OL – 5 (4), DL – 5 (4), LB – 6 (6), DB – 15 (13)
    • Team Breakdown
      • JAX, NYJ, SD, WAS – 4
      • DET, OAK – 3
      • CAR, GB, HOU, KC, NE, PHI, PIT, SF, TEN – 2
      • ATL, BAL. CIN, CLE, DAL, DEN, IND, MIN, NYG, PHI, PIT, STL, TB – 1
      • ARI, BUF, CHI, MIA, NO, SEA – 0

Our definition of Incidence Rate (InR) is projected concussions/45 players taking the field per team per game, our definition of Epidemiological Incidence Rate (EInR) is projected concussions/53 man roster per team.

  • Comparing to past seasons the following has been found after Week 7: # (2012, 2011, 2010):
    • Regular Season Concussions – 51 (64, 66, 60)

Matt Chaney’s Take on Heads Up Football

The post below is from Matt Chaney’s Blog, re-posted (in part) here with his permission.  We are posting it here not as an endorsement, rather as an opposing view that is worth the read.  Our commentary on this article by Chaney will be below this post.  We encourage everyone to see the entire post on his blog.  You can view it by clicking on the hotlink, it is titled; ‘Heads Up Football’: Truth, Tales and Legal Consequences.

==========

By Matt Chaney

Posted Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Peter King posits bogus hitting technique as Safer Football in Sports Illustrated

—geezuz, the further we go in this latest football crisis, the worse many people become, willingly, on behalf of the sexy blood sport… and so Peter King of SI skips along, telling us bona fide prevention is possible for football’s irreversible head-ramming… a new post by the Hall of Fame football scribe portrays Heads Up ‘proper contact’ as legitimate; King purports this theoretical headless hitting can be instilled by coaches, enforced by referees, adopted by players… I’d like to see King demonstrate on a football field, suited-up himself for forward collisions governed by physics and bullet-head helmets; he’d ram, too, or get his ass kicked… look, folks, players cannot govern or stop ramming on a football field; rather, forces of the crazy game dictate human behavior… forget talk and trust your eyesight, especially naïve parents and kids, to understand Heads Up ‘technique’ is invalid, unreliable, a lienothing new: it’s mere rehash of musty old ‘head up’ form hitting, proven invalid since the 1960s… here’s King, introducing his discussion:

What’s been eye-opening to discover is the trickle-down effect from the NFL to youth football. As the pro league emphasizes safety more and more, so do high schools around America. … Coaches are concerned; 41 of 49 polled [by SI] said they have modified training techniques because of increased education about concussions and head trauma.

—sure, trickle-down effect will reform football danger, once again… solution for brain trauma in the collision game is just around the corner… like trickle-down ‘steroid awareness’ for football’s immense problem with anabolic substances…  King continues:

Several high school coaches emphasized the NFL teaching new tackling techniques, such as “Heads Up Football,” which teaches coaches to train kids to tackle with heads up—instead of using the helmet as a battering ram. Said Middlebury Union (Vt.) coach Dennis Smith: “In any drills we’re doing—whether it be fundamental drills at the beginning of practices, especially defensive practices—we’re always stressing head up. You have to be able to see what you’re tackling.” … Said Brandon (Miss.) coach Brad Peterson: “We always start the year, whether spring or fall, with walking through the proper techniques of tackling.” … The coach of E.O. Smith High in Storrs, Conn., Jody Minotti, said he knows he can’t prevent every concussion, but he trains his players to minimize the risks. “We do less contact throughout the week and we teach proper tackling,” said Minotti. “We preach in practice all of the time, ‘Bite the ball. Bite the ball.’ That means keep your head up and don’t ever lead with your helmet. We film tackling, we talk about tackling whenever we’re watching film.”

—huh, these coaches don’t address the facemask dilemma, the prime fault of football rules behind the charade of Heads Up, ‘proper contact,’ ‘head up technique,’ ‘anti-butting’ or whatever term… this toothless policy and language have been a football mandate since 1976, for high schools and the NCAA… the rules specifically ban Continue reading

2013 Week 6 NFL Concussion Report

The Concussion Blog Original, NFL Concussion Report, is a weekly compiling of the reported head injuries in the National Football League.  Concussions are added to the list each week from multiple sources to give you the reader a picture of what is happening on the field.  Each week we will bring you the information along with relevant statistics.  If we have missed a concussion or put one on here erroneously, let us know (we will also be using Fink’s Rule to classify a concussion/head injury).  It also should be noted that due to the league not disclosing actual injuries until Friday night there may be some added to next weeks numbers.

Did you know it was two years ago this week that the NFL put in the fine system for targeting and helmet contact?

The trend continues.  At the beginning of the season we were reserved on making presumptions of the low number of concussions we were seeing.  Although we still want to wait until the end of the season to solidify our thoughts it can be said that through six weeks the numbers are significantly down.  We are over 1/3 of the way into the NFL season and we have seen the total number of concussions reported/found to be – hopefully – a good sign.

There could be a myriad of reasons for this;

  • Positive
    • Players are grasping the lower target zone
    • Players are respecting the injury, therefore one another (case in point Larry Fitzgerald crack-back blocks last night)
    • Players are receiving better management of concussion
    • Less contact in practice is paying off
    • Better rule enforcement
  • Skeptical Thinking
    • Teams being less forthcoming
    • Players hiding the injury

As you can see the good outweighs the “bad” in this line of thinking which is a good start.  Again we want to reiterate that after Week 12 and before Week 17 there is usually a spike of concussions.  Two reasons for this: 1) all teams will have completed byes and more players on the field and 2) the possibility of cumulative effects leading to more concussions, a threshold if you will.

As it stands now there have been 45 reported/found regular season concussions which is about one weeks numbers lower than the previous three years average of 54.67, through six weeks.  If the numbers stay on this course we would be looking at approximately a 19 concussion drop or about 11%.  This would be a massive decline, considering that the numbers have risen for the past three years.

The above is a good thing, I for one am hoping for all the positives to be true.

Before we get to the numbers some QUICK NOTES: Continue reading

10/17 Quick Hits

HockeyNow question and answer with Charles Tator (one of the best);

HN: What have we learned about concussions that maybe we didn’t know a decade or two or three ago?

CT: There are about 30 things that we didn’t know just 10 years ago. For example, the adolescent brain seems to be most susceptible to concussion and takes the longest to recover. It’s rather unfortunate because that age is when kids are now big enough and fast enough that they are getting concussions—it’s also the risk-taking age.

Also, women appear to concuss more easily than men; and that holds for sports like hockey and basketball. We’re not really sure why that is but that’s what the data is telling us.

Unfortunately, there are still a lot of unanswered questions about concussions. We still don’t know the exact mechanism—although, rotational acceleration is more important in producing concussions than linear acceleration. And also, we don’t know how to detect a concussion on imaging techniques; for example, there is no telltale sign on a CAT Scan. And the MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is still not showing us the effects of concussion. We are hopeful that some newer sequences of MRI will be more informative.

A concussion is still a clinical diagnosis, meaning that it depends on a knowledgeable examiner, like a physician, as well as a compliant patient. And not all patients are compliant; there are still people who want to hide the symptoms and signs of a concussion.

HN: How important is recognition of a concussion?

CT: All you have to do is look at Sidney Crosby—the fact that he got his first concussion on a Monday and it wasn’t recognized; and then on the Wednesday, he got his second concussion and it took a year to recover. It’s important to sit out until you’ve fully recovered and follow the six-step process of gradually incorporating more physical activity, so that your brain is ready to take another hit. If you run around the block and get a headache and get dizzy, that means your brain is not ready for the next hit and then you’re subject to the serious consequences of another concussion because your brain has not recovered fully from the first one.

Ex-ESPN exec says “Stop denying brain damage“;  Continue reading

I Echo the Call From Cantu

Dr. Robert Cantu recently wrote an article for the Health & Science section of Time that discussed some of the obstacles for true understanding of cumulative effects of collision sports.  As he notes some of it is ambivalence but the main reason is that we truly don’t have the hard data, only tiny snapshots.

Cantu begins his article by cementing his thoughts on youth football, it should be flag until age 14.  Although this is an arbitrary age the reasoning seems sound, immature brains do react differently than fully developed brains.  Research does indeed suggest that adolescent brains – especially prepubescent – are more susceptible and take longer to recover.  Granted if they are not playing tackle football there is a good likelihood that some will sustain a concussion riding a bike or jumping on a trampoline; doing general “kid stuff”.  The massive difference between that and organized sports is that concussions that happen in the playground or in a park are accidents.  Some of our sports mandate that you hit or create collisions.  As we should all be keenly aware, it doesn’t take a direct blow to the head to create the concussive injury.

Moreover, once a child had sustained a concussion getting the vital information from them in this subjective injury is difficult.  Children and young adults are not very good at describing or even acquiescing to what is wrong.  This puts them behind the 8-ball, so to speak, as the proper management is often delayed or not even sought.  Mismanagement is the true elephant in the room on this issue.  As seen above many concussions occur, by accident, outside of organized sports.

In no way has he, nor I, even remotely been associated with banning of organized sports; if anything we have championed ways to get MORE children involved through less potentially harmful ways.  If people would Continue reading

2013 Week 5 NFL Concussion Report

The Concussion Blog Original, NFL Concussion Report, is a weekly compiling of the reported head injuries in the National Football League.  Concussions are added to the list each week from multiple sources to give you the reader a picture of what is happening on the field.  Each week we will bring you the information along with relevant statistics.  If we have missed a concussion or put one on here erroneously, let us know (we will also be using Fink’s Rule to classify a concussion/head injury).  It also should be noted that due to the league not disclosing actual injuries until Friday night there may be some added to next weeks numbers.

The “Red, Brick, Broadway” road leads to Pittsburgh; that is my summation of the “League of Denial” book by the Brothers Fainaru.  Now it would be inherently misguided of me to overlook the work of others on the fringe of this issue, but reality is that the epicenter of this issue is not on Park Avenue in New York, rather near the Allegheny in Western Pennsylvania.

After finishing the book there are many questions, similar but more that were presented in the fine documentary on Frontline, the biggest question that is still left unanswered is; “where do we go from here?”  The ugliness has been exposed to the best extent, knowing that actual legal discovery would have been much more inclusive, and now that we have some idea of what we possibly could be facing how do we find the answers many are looking for?  For now that to me seems the most important message we can glean from the “League of Denial”.

I cannot find fault in what is being attempted by many: education, remediation of coaching techniques, assessment tools, recovery tools, innovation looking for the magic bullet.  All of those things will go some way in finding a solution, however with the information and beating drums of lawyers and insurance companies, unfortunately the “nuclear option” remains in play.  Removing this sport, in what ever form is necessary, from the fabric of our lives is not one I want to see come to fruition, period.

Perhaps emotion and legacy are keeping us from plodding forward in an acceptable manner.  As with most controversial issues, emotion should be stripped from decision-making, as difficult as that may seem.  Taking a step back and viewing the picture from afar is better than trying to soak in the masterpiece from within its frame.  For the most part the game of football is a Monet or Picasso or Michelangelo; something to behold and treasure.  In order for football to take the platform that those names resonate with stepping back and viewing it from afar may reveal to all of us that a small, relatively un-life altering change can me made to elevate it not only to but beyond.

One such change to the sport happened in 1908 with the POTUS stepping in and demanding a change to save lives.  Although I was not alive back then and the popularity was not what it is now, the changes to the game were seen as “sport-altering” and dissented upon.  “Forward pass”, no way it will ruin the game…  “Helmets”, we don’t need helmets…  So and so forth; it has happened before it can and will happen again.

Now that my opening soliloquy is over how bout we look at the Week 5 concussion numbers (for which most of you came)…   Continue reading

Abhorring Actions, by all parties

In the Chicago Sun Times, Rick Telander relays a story that is sometimes all to familiar to those that choose to pay attention.  The end result is still the same, gutless and reprehensible behavior by all involved (VIDEO BELOW);

It was the moment wrestler Cody Minnick had trained years for, had sacrificed so much for.

He was in the 2013 Illinois high school state finals in the 106-pound weight class in February, going up against Anthony Luis, a tough nut from Harvard. They had wrestled twice the year before, splitting their matches, but they had not met this season. The shorter, stouter Luis carried a record of 39-6, but Minnick, taller and as lean as a lightweight can be, had progressed and nearly reached the pinnacle. He was 47-0, and he felt this was his big chance, his day for reward.

Then, just 19 seconds into the match, Luis grabbed Minnick and slammed him to the mat. The front of Minnick’s head hit first, then Luis’ chin hit him from behind.

Minnick signaled to the ref that he was hurt, and he lay motionless for a long time on the mat as trainers and referees circled about him, giving him assistance. He had a cut on the back of his head, but to any close observer, that wasn’t the issue. He clearly had been knocked out, however briefly.

This is not a new happening at the Illinois State wrestling meet in Champaign, we have cataloged two previous events prior to the 2013 State Finals;

Here is the video of the most recent case, the one Telander wrote about, courtesy of Sports Legacy Institute:

Which way do you think (post title not giving it away) do you think the Cody Minnick case plays out?  Before we go further, it should be explained that wrestling in Illinois, while being very good, has poor medical coverage.  It has been my experience that the problems faced in football with head coaches wielding too much power is the same or greater in high school wrestling.  This is especially the case when teams travel and being at the state championships is that type of situation.

First of all, if the high school Continue reading

“League of Denial” Wrap Up and Reax

I surely hope everyone was able to watch PBS Frontline’s “League of Denial” last night, if you happened to miss it you can view it HERE.  This is also an opportunity to insist that you seek out the book, which is much more detailed and has more “players” in this issue.

During the film I along with others was asked to tweet live about what we were seeing, and as the app updated on my iPad the comments and opinions were very interesting.  I thought it was great that both the Fainaru’s were adding key details of the story while the action was unfolding, a lot of my retweets were from them.

From my feed it was obvious that the league did not look like they did enough in the way of getting information out.  Most poignant to me was the timeline of first admission – 2000 when the NFL Retirement Board awarded Mike Webster disability and admitted football created his problems.  Yet for years after that the league itself denied all research that supported those findings, Dr. Ira Casson even went as far as saying “No” to every question asked about long-term damage in 2007.  SEVEN YEARS AFTER.  Further, the league continued to deny and even down play leaked research (that was sponsored by the league itself) about brain issues after retirement, in 2009 when Alan Schwartz was leaked that information.  Later that same year Greg Aiello – after the thrashing of the league in Congress – admitted to Schwartz that there is a connection.

The film did a tremendous job of showing the plight Continue reading

“League of Denial” (Part 2)

Coming to a bookstore and TV near you today is “League of Denial” a book and documentary about one of the dirty little secrets the NFL has been avoiding for some time.  Fortunately, I have been provided with advance copies of both; the Frontline film was easy to digest, as for reading a book, well we can just say I am trying to read as fast as possible.

I was reminded quickly, yesterday via Twitter, that I may lack valuable perspective when it comes to concussion information (and that I am not normal – this is not breaking news).  Will Carroll of Bleacher Report let me know that this information will be new to a lot of people out there.  He is exactly right, not only that, this documentary will be easily digestible for the fan of football.  For any person just wading into this, when you tune into PBS tonight to view “League of Denial” you will be absolutely hooked from the start.

The sounds of the crowd, visuals of big hits grab your football part of the brain IMMEDIATELY, over those sounds you will quickly discover the problem NFL players have faced with brain injuries playing their sport.  Harry Carson saying “and then they are gone” when talking about former players.  A bold statement that the level of denial was “just profound.”  An NFL lawyer saying “we strongly deny those allegations that we withheld information or misled the players.”  And more video and sound of punishing hits that used to fill the highlight reel bring the opening curtain of this very important documentary.

This problem is real – it’s not just real for the professionals – and from the get go Frontline makes you understand, vividly and personally, why this is.  After listening to old radio calls of the Steel Curtain it all begins with the story of Mike Webster and the forensic pathologist who studied his brain, Bennet Omalu.

The discovery of a possible reason one of the most respected and lauded players in Pittsburgh sports pantheon fell from grace and eventually found and early demise.  If the football portion of your brain does not connect to what is being presented then I would haphazardly guess that you are not ingrained within the fabric of football.

As Harry Carson explains how the game was played and to some extent how it’s still played you can begin to understand the issue at hand.  This is hammered home when Robert Stern, PhD tells the audience blows to the brain are at forces 20 times greater than the force of gravity (20 G’s); or as he so eloquently put it “driving into a brick wall at 35mph”, 1,000 times or more in a season.

In the first 11 minutes of this 2 hour presentation you are at full attention and want to understand the “whats”, “whys” and “whos”.  If you are not engaged and ready for further explanation I can only say that you don’t care or want to bury your head in the sand.

Contributions in the film include Continue reading

Athletic Training Podcast

You may have seen it on Twitter, I have recently finished a podcast with Chris Lenker over at ATPodcast.net (@ATPodcast).  I had a great time just shooting the breeze about who I am and why I started the blog.  My dog Eli even gets in the action with some random barking in the background.  Chris tells me it was a good podcast, but to be honest I think he just asked a question and let me ramble for no apparent reason, ha.

Please if you get the chance and the time give it a listen, Chris and his podcast does a wonderful job for the profession of athletic training.  Help him out by going to his iTunes link HERE.

I would appreciate all feedback on this, there is a wicked rumor that people may want more of this type of interaction between fellow athletic trainers.  And Chris almost has me convinced that I should be doing some of these on a regular basis.  I don’t know if anyone would even want to hear more than what they have.  Feel free to let us know!

“League of Denial” (Part 1)

Coming to a bookstore and TV near you tomorrow is “League of Denial” a book and documentary about one of the dirty little secrets the NFL has been avoiding for some time.  Fortunately, I have been provided with advance copies of both; the Frontline film was easy to digest, as for reading a book, well we can just say I am trying to read as fast as possible.

In all honesty, if you have followed any part of this issue nothing revealed in either medium (thus far in the book) is seen as “BREAKING NEWS” rather an illustration of what has been happening with the research arm and policy makers of the National Football League, with regards to concussions.

“League of Denial” the Book:

In what I have been able to read thus far both Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru-Wada have done a good job of telling the hidden secret.  The Fainau’s went as deep as they possibly could without the help of the league itself, even as far as getting one of the original researchers to recount some of the possible misgivings in the past.

By utilizing the real stories of players that met an early demise (Mike Webster most notably) the information has an emotional connection with the reader.  While reading this you understand why this information may have been so valuable to the families and friends of those that could have been effected by repeated head trauma.

It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to tell you that repetitive brain trauma is bad for you, but the problem here is Continue reading

Nick Mercer: Change is Not the Enemy

Why have a blog if I’m not going to write? Why write if I’ve got nothing to write about? Why write about anything if I’ve got nothing to say?

That personal interview has been running through my head for the past several weeks and it pretty much sums up my reasons for not writing much recently, but I’ve found something to talk about…

Every day there is news about brain injury; prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. That said, the stories that make it to the wider media are usually sad stories of lives being completely and negatively altered, the occasional story of recovery and how, with some changes, the individual does what he or she always did, and ominous warnings of the perpetual threat of head trauma. Almost every story about brain injury laments the change that has taken place in the life of the brain injured individual and their friends and family. After reading stories like these it is often forgotten that even in the best of times, everybody’s life changes. That’s a very basic and simple fact. The degree to which, and how, life changes differs. Drastic change sometimes happens, but it’s not always a bad thing, even though it may start looking that way. If my family and friends weren’t so awesome and accepting of change, I would probably never be happy.

Acceptance is not a synonym for quitting or giving up. In fact, in difficult situations, Continue reading

2013 Week 4 NFL Concussion Report

The Concussion Blog Original, NFL Concussion Report, is a weekly compiling of the reported head injuries in the National Football League.  Concussions are added to the list each week from multiple sources to give you the reader a picture of what is happening on the field.  Each week we will bring you the information along with relevant statistics.  If we have missed a concussion or put one on here erroneously, let us know (we will also be using Fink’s Rule to classify a concussion/head injury).  It also should be noted that due to the league not disclosing actual injuries until Friday night there may be some added to next weeks numbers.

With the relatively low regular season number and usual scouring needed to find concussions being less cumbersome now we have had time to delve back into the preseason concussions.  We note that preseason numbers are not reliable, but having the concussions cataloged can tell us some interesting things.  Notably, we can look at the offense/defense split, the position and the number of players that were cut.  Although in most cases the reason for players being let go is strictly performance based, it is worth the notation.

In preseason there is a larger population of players, therefore we should expect higher numbers – one would think.  However, the majority of playing time goes to the reserves and those not secured on the roster, your “non-superstars” if you will.  Also we have noted in some cases from the past that the “better” players once getting a preseason concussion have no impetus to return to the field when the games don’t mean much.  For these reasons and others the preseason number of concussions is more of an abstract painting, if you will.

While examining the preseason concussions we were able to eliminate one from our previous reports, solidifying the preseason concussion at 54 rather than 55.  With that here are some of the findings: Continue reading

The “Other” PBS Film

ICYMI there is another film not named “League of Denial” that PBS is showing that deals with concussions.  This one however is “a proactive look” at concussions in a high school setting.  As Founder, Editor, Journalist, Producer of MomsTEAM; Brooke de Lench put it in a recent post on the release of this film;

We also careful to explain on “The Smartest Team” website that the documentary is no more than an “audio-visual blueprint,” and “an introduction to a set of principles (the Six Pillars) to guide development of a sound concussion risk management program based on the latest research and opinions of experts; to provide a solid foundation on which to build such a program;” that we see it “only as as a jumping off point for what we hope will be the beginning of a multi-year and continuing process involving parents, coaches, players, athletic directors, school boards, booster clubs, and health care professionals, motivated by a desire to preserve all that is good about youth and high school football, to work as a team to implement best practices in concussion risk management.”

The Smartest Team” is a documentary of a high school in Oklahoma that was looking for a better way to combat concussions, and sought out de Lench and MomsTEAM.  During this film you will see the use of Continue reading

Drop the Puck, 2013-14 Style

I am a sports nut, that should go without saying, but one of the most exciting sports has begun its campaign.  Living in Illinois, I am often reminded of who are the current keepers of Lord Stanley’s Cup but I also have a keen eye on my hometown team, the Colorado Avalanche.  With all that being said I do not follow hockey nearly as well as football, or my own high school sports (our soccer team in undefeated).  However, this is a sport that is also classified as a collision sport and is predisposed to disproportionate amounts of head trauma.

This season there should be some interesting findings about concussions as a confluence of a few rule changes as well as an Olympic schedule may in fact reduce the incidence of concussion, here is why;

  • Longer season (not strike shortened) so the players don’t feel the pressure to play so damned hard so quickly
  • Olympic schedule will have players worried about country over NHL when the winter gets in full swing
  • Fighters must keep helmets on for fights (I guess visored players cannot fight) for protection when falling to the ice
  • Rule 48 is in its third year, referees, players and the league have a better grasp on the outlawed hits

OK, logically there should be “more” concussions Continue reading