I was tipped off by a fellow athletic trainer in a state where this .pdf (click first link below) is being circulated around. I find it interesting in the wake of the American Football Coaches Association meeting that this is being titled the way it is.
Concussions in Football is how it is titled on the info packet, but the subject line that my source received was “Our Game is Under Attack”.
ARE YOU SERIOUS?
First, let me say I have read it – three times – and find nothing wrong about what is being presented. Even with the opening HUGE FONT reason/opinion Dr. Sandra Bond Chapman has for continuing playing youth football. I respect that opinion and cases can be made for such a strong statement, in fact it is lore at this time.
But to claim the sport itself is under attack because some may be looking beyond the lore of benefits is a bit much, in my opinion. I have explained many a time here on the blog that what I see it as – and my reason for presenting information – is to keep the game around. The game is not under attack because of concussions, if the game was under attack it is because of the way it handles injuries – namely concussions – and the possible ramifications. The document is correct in stating not all brain injury is permanent, yet we don’t have any long-term data (solid longitudinal) on the effects of this sport or others that are collision based outside of boxing.
I honestly believe that if every sport coach, parent or kid looked at this document and adhered to the last page a lot of this problem would go away. Here in lies the problem; when people look at 1-3 weeks for academic and “cognitive” (screens) restrictions they don’t see that as 1-3 weeks out of sport. Moreover, NO WHERE in there does it say return to sport should come after return-to-learn. It says nothing about return to sport/physical activity except for “Remove the player from play until symptoms have disappeared”. The message, although good, leaves out the specifics on return to play – just an open-ended subjective statement.
When we are dealing with the youth brain – as eloquently stated in the document – it is very important we let it recover. Simply “implying” that return to sport should be addressed it needs to much more specific so everyone has expectations.
What everyone needs to understand is that collision sports by nature are going to expose athletes to increased risk of concussive injuries. The objective of collision sports is to, you know, collide with opponents where the possibility of injury is increased. There is a reason American Football has the highest incidence of concussions. It always has.
We are just now paying attention to it — not attacking the sport.
Addendum 1715 CST:
After reading this and percolating on it a bit – I neglected another very critical part of this document. Where in there does is say that medical coverage should be a priority? Perhaps I am asking for the stars AND moon, but honestly now is the time to be seeking athletic trainers to cover collision sports.
There must be verbiage about that; why not let the coaches coach and the med people do med stuff. Coaches can educate all they want, but managing a concussion should NEVER be part of their responsibilities.
No athletic trainer no collision sports, period.