Weighing in on Michigan Situation


If you follow college football or listen to sports radio there is a good chance that you have been exposed to the story of Michigan quarterback, Shane Morris, and the apparent failure to keep him from the field after sustaining a head injury.  The official story from the University is that it was a communication error.

Believe it or not, that could be exactly correct.  Now, were there some possible missteps along the way by ALL involved, yes.  Is there one single person or policy in place that is to blame, no.  I offer some perspective before everyone eviscerates their choice of target in this case, lets take a look at how this could have went sideways.

The Player

Morris was roughed up a bit as the game progressed; he is a sophomore QB that was just elevated to the starting position on a premiere football program.  Certainly he displayed some orthopedic distress as he was limping heavily after a play – how many times have we seen players play through ankle/knee/leg/foot injuries and some times even celebrated for doing so.  Morris was playing through pain trying to help his team, but what happened next need not happen; however the player himself has a lot to do with how it will and did go down.

After Morris was hit in the head he attempted to get up and was obviously unsteady on his feet, he even waved off the medical team.  I have been told by a good source that he even told the sidelines it was his ankle that was the issue, not his head.  Which is entirely plausible, but due to the mechanism of the previous play would be unlikely the main reason for his wobbliness.

Athletic trainers as medical professionals are not omnipotent but we sure are close (ha) when it comes to injuries on the field/court of play.  We do rely upon input from other human beings to make quick and decisive decisions.  Doing so, in some instances, can end up creating a delay in proper treatment as it did in this case.  Morris’ insistence that he was ‘OK’ immediately after the hit was taken for face value in that very short period of time.  Considering the confluence of all the other factors for player safety – his ankle, his immediate response to the sideline, his demeanor – he was not ripped from the field.  To be honest here, I have never seen a coach, teammate, athletic trainer or other – in the college or professional ranks – step on a field to remove a player that got up and “shook it off”; usually it takes the player going down and staying down for that to happen, if he/she does not leave the field under their own volition.  Because of this, it is on the player to make sure they are seeking the proper care for their own well-being.

After the next play, Morris was removed for evaluation of his injuries.  Part of that evaluation included his head and the team  neurologist was in position and was reportedly performing his evaluation when he was removed.  After it was determined by the medical staff that he sustained a concussion (they called it mild, which grates on me like no other) his day was effectively done, except…  Morris heard his name being called to return to the field because his replacement had lost his helmet on the play and the next man up couldn’t find his.  The competitive instinct kicked in and Morris grabbed his lid and proceeded to take one snap and return to the bench.  If you were or are around competitive athletes you can fully understand how this happened, not the why but how.

In retrospect; the player needs to be much more candid with his issue of injury, no matter the body part but especially with their head.  When that player has been told he is concussed he then needs to understand that he cannot play again, that day and for a while.

The Medical Team

Someone in a position to make sound judgments about head injuries did see the play and the aftermath.  This is a fact as alluded to in the press release from Michigan on the injury;

Brandon’s statement said the team neurologist noticed the symptoms of a concussion and made his way down the sideline to check Morris’ health. Morris remained in the game for one play before he was pulled to the sideline.

He was not the only one that saw it, according to my source, other people within the team medical staff (which include head athletic trainer, assistant athletic trainers, graduate assistant athletic trainers, student athletic trainers, team physicians) also saw and questioned the disposition of Morris after the play.

That is EXACTLY why he was removed one play following the incident.  One play.  Approximately 50 seconds after the injury.

The player never stayed down and even waved off help, convincing those that wanted to help it was his ankle.  It only worked for less than a minute; he was pulled to begin his evaluation of his ankle and head.

Certainly, hindsight being what it is, that one play was too many, but with the confluence of all the other factors melded together the response time and removal was adequate.  I have seen plenty of players finish a drive before being checked out.  The Michigan staff should be given credit for getting him out of there as soon as could have been expected.

The staff also did due diligence by checking and subsequently diagnosing him with a concussion, even taking his helmet – but not hiding it well enough.  For all we know the medical staff was in the process of relaying the information to the proper channels when Morris heard his name being shouted on the sideline and responding instinctively.  We all cannot be like the Ohio State Strength Coach and plant a kid if they try to run on the field, and in this injury it would have made it worse, but I have seen physical restraint for players trying to reenter after they have been told they cannot play.

In retrospect; the medical team needed to do a better job of making sure Morris could not get back on the field.

The Coaches

Those coaches are there to coach and if a player is hurt it is “next man/woman up” in a game situation.  Why else are there athletic trainers and doctors.  Sure, in some high schools across this country the coach has to also be the team “med staff” along with coaching (which is criminal in this day an age) but not at the college level, let alone the high Division I programs.

If they didn’t see the results of the play, opposite where the ball ended up, then that is likely.  The Offensive Coordinator is probably looking at his play sheet, the head coach is probably discussing something with a part of the team or watching the result of the play.  The have the job of COACHING.

I have no doubt that had a coach seen what had happened he would have spoken up to the medical staff.  I have even more confidence that had the HC or the OC seen the play results they would have called for the back up immediately (which according to my source was in the process of happening).  The backup only would have been waved off by Morris for that one play, which he was.  Then one play later, about 50 seconds, Morris was removed.  Not by the med staff, but by the coaches.

In retrospect; perhaps the coaches could have called a timeout if they had seen what happened from start to finish.  Perhaps coaches should have more eyes on their head, too!

The Officials

The officials are also trained to look for overt signs of head injury and stop play for evaluation/removal.  Obviously the referee was convinced by Morris and his “ankle story” and what he saw to not whistle for a stoppage of play.

Again another layer of protection that was betrayed by the human aspect.

In retrospect; … uh … officials will have to be much more proactive and take heat from coaches and fans for stopping play and having a player removed.

Aftermath

Here is a LINK that has some Twitter timeline information for background.

The above is a word illustration of how complex this particular situation was; as the Michigan Athletic Director stated it all boiled down to a communication error.  But the error is not solely on the coach or med staff, it must and always includes the player.

Often times the media, me included, look for the worst of the problem and exploit it to hammer home a point.  Many times this tact is warranted.  However if you look at how this entire event transpired you can notice that just about everyone did what was expected of them, other than the final communication.

One play before being removed, when the kid has a bum wheel and enough wherewithal to lie about it, is not only acceptable but good, in my opinion.  All things considered the Michigan Medical Team should be lauded for that small feat.

If that last sentence has you scratching your head then you cannot grasp the fact that players often times were able to lie/fake their way through the end of drives and games on that same misguided gumption.  Morris didn’t fall through the cracks in terms of injury care.  Morris and his machismo were the reason he flew back on the field when he heard his name called.  Next time I bet the player cannot find his helmet!

Conclusion

I actually believe and agree with the official statement from the University, a miscommunication.

The good from this is that every university, college, pro team, high school team is going through their communication plans as we speak to make sure this type of incident is avoided.

However, with the human element so poignant with concussion it will happen again.

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62 thoughts on “Weighing in on Michigan Situation

  1. SportsCAPP.com October 1, 2014 / 10:21

    Great post and I have been RTing it to everyone.

    Katherine Price Snedaker, MSW PinkConcussions.com SportsCAPP.com TheConcussionConference.com 203.984.0860

    Associate Member National Sports Concussion Coalition sportsconcussioncoalition.org

    Member of the Advisory Council, Protecting Athletes and Sports Safety initiative National Council on Youth Sports Safety, Inc. youthsportssafety.org

  2. George Visger October 1, 2014 / 10:41

    Been in that same situation as the player many times. Totally understand. My only problem is, once diagnosed with a concussion, the player is not able to make the decision on his own to return to the field. If they “tried” to hide the helmet they did a piss poor job of it.

    Next time a player is concussed, lets try to keep someone by his side for at least the next play.

    We don’t want anymore George Visger’s.

    KRON4 News in San Francisco …Cached – April 18, 2012 … George Visger, author of the ebook “OUT OF MY HEAD: My Life In and Out of Football” (January 2012), was featured in this report on KRON4 … http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZpnI6W2-Sg

  3. Brooke de Lench October 1, 2014 / 10:51

    Nice overview. Might I suggest you add one additional suggestion? Technology.

    My work with field testing six brands of impact sensors on football players ages 7-22 over the past three years has given me a solid appreciation of the technology and ability these sensors have to act as another “set of eyes” to monitor players like Shane Morris. When asked in private players always tell me “they do not want the responsibly of reporting a concussion nor are they many times in their right mind to do so.” Many college teams such as LSU and Arena football are mandating sensors. Perhaps this is an option for Michigan since they are not able to do an adequate job of monitoring themselves.

    Brooke de Lench
    delench@MomsTeam.com

    Exec Director: MomsTEAM Institute
    Producer/Director: THE SMARTEST TEAM: Making High School Football Safer (PBS 2014)
    Author: HOME TEAM ADVANTAGE: The Critical Role of Mothers in Youth Sports (Harper Collins)

  4. Angela Morris October 1, 2014 / 12:14

    Agree with Dustin’s conclusion, the player has a major role in how quickly medical staff can assess an injury and if necessary remove a player from the field. This works for most injuries below the neck but once it involves the head, the players ability to self assess is compromised. A simple and practical solution to this particular “black hole” is to install impact sensors that monitor players for head impact and provide sideline staff with real time impact data to make informed decisions. In the Michigan case, having players outfitted with impact sensors would have resulted in sideline staff receiving a real time alert identifying the magnitude of the head impact, information which they could have used to determIne “ONE PLAY EARLIER” that the QB’s injuries were to more than just his ankle. Football already uses coach to quarterback wireless communications to send in the plays, it doesn’t seem like a reach to employ comparable technology to relay bio mechanical metrics to sideline personnel for health related puposes.
    #MakeSportsSafer

    • Tom October 2, 2014 / 12:28

      Angela – I ask this question respectfully, but have you ever worked with HITS? I’ve been working with it for the last 2 years and in many instances there is a noticeable delay between impacts and readings. If would be nearly impossible for the the impact to processed, viewed by a member of the sports medicine staff, and have the player pulled out of the game prior to the next play. The time just isn’t there. (before we even get into discussions of cost, manpower, only working in select Riddell helmets, etc)

      Perhaps either you or Brooke can enlighten me, but do we have validity and reliability scientifically established for the other sensor systems? A review of the Triax website and a quick pubmed/Web of Science search failed to identify any papers which document reliability and validity.

      • Brooke de Lench October 4, 2014 / 11:23

        Tom,

        Yes we have evaluated the HITS system and have included it in our Impact Sensor Product Guide. At the end of this season we will update with information on six sensors we have felt most comfortable in including in our field tests.

        Please read my reply to Mr Brady below RE our funding policies. As a non profit, advocacy, watchdog organization, we do not allow sensor companies to fund us.

  5. 1 – The primary roles of the health care professional [ and also coaching staff, etc.] are to:

    a) protect the health & safety of the athlete and

    b) do no harm to the athlete.

    2 – A player’s judgment may be cognitively impaired when asked re ” Did they experience a concussion” ….thus accepting a player’s perception of possible injury level appears both foolish and risky.

    Furthermore — why is there a rush to evaluate and return to play the same day if the athlete’s brain health may be at risk?

    What happened to :

    When in doubt…sit out ?

    Suspected concussion…then removed from play for the day…PERIOD

    Unfortunately these ” sit-out mantras ” often seem like empty PR rhetoric…

    3 – Given the extensive list of INITIAL and POTENTIAL EMERGING adverse cognitive, physical and emotional symptoms that may occur from sustaining a concussion / brain injury –

    a brief sideline screening CANNOT THOROUGHLY, VALIDLY nor RELIABLY evaluate for the possible presence and potential of ALL these brain injury symptoms.

    Furthermore, some of these symptoms cannot be accurately detected by the presently developed instrumentation nor are they being addressed during a brief sideline screening.

    In addition…if some symptoms may later evolve, and thus be delayed…

    Shouldn’t a SUSPECTED concussed player ALWAYS be removed for the remainder of the game / practice and also for 5 or 6 additional days and correspondingly closely OBSERVED OVER this PERIOD OF DAYS to ascertain:

    a) – if evolving or additional symptoms manifest themselves within a later period of time;

    and

    b) – to avoid the possibility of a tragic event occurring….

    (See last week’s Time magazine article re the death of the high school player on the football field)

    Peace.

    • Tom October 2, 2014 / 12:11

      Don – The big question here is how do you define a SUSPECTED concussion?

      1. Is it simply from a big hit? Mihalik reported that only 0.35% of impacts over 80 g’s resulted in concussions. If this number is correct, then you’d need to remove 285 players to identify one concussion. Could some of those actually been concussions that were not identified, certainly, but the number is still extraordinary low or UNC has a completely incompetent sports medicine staff (unlikely). McCaffrey found, on average, no deficits in objective balance or cognition in individuals with impacts >90 g’s 24 hours post-impact.

      2. Is it any concussion related symptom? If an OLman comes to the AT staff and says they have a headache during the game, are they to be withheld for 5-6 days? Are there not any other possible explanations for the headache besides a potential concussion (Dehydration, Fatigue, Stress, Migraine)? Sallis (MSSE 2000) reported 21% of football players typically have a headache during a game – are we going to remove 1/5th of all players?

      There is already substantial evidence that many/most probable concussions are not reported to health care professionals as it is (Kaut 2003; McCrea, 2004; Register-Mihalik 2013, Llewellyn 2014; among others). If you enforce a policy where any suspected concussion results in the player being withheld from the game and 5-6 more days (which likely means the next game as well if they don’t practice all week), what do yo think the reporting rate of actual concussions will be?

      What is the balance point between appropriate healthcare and sports participation? If we are going to truly err on the side of caution and have a low threshold to suspect concussion, then we might as well just cancel football (and hockey, lacrosse, wrestling, rugby, Aussie football, and soccer).

      • Tom,

        1- Your so-called argument is ladened with irrelevant side issues and irrelevant research, along with illogical thinking that has apparently created forced choices within your extremely narrow conclusions.

        Furthermore, if you wish to prematurely rule out if a concussion / brain injury has occurred then you are accountable for your ” rush to judgment ” decision making process.

        Thus I suggest you reread and reflect upon what I have written.

        2- Regarding appropriate health care:

        My understanding of the primary roles of the health care professional [ and also coaching staff, etc.] are to:

        a) protect the health & safety of the athlete and

        b) do no harm to the athlete.

        Peace.

      • Tom,

        I am merely reflecting what you are stating…not insulting you…

        You are narrowly framing questions to me and then offering me limited or forced choice responses along with adding irrelevant side issues and irrelevant research.

        1- For example, you state: …

        ” What is the balance point between appropriate healthcare and sports participation?

        If we are going to truly err on the side of caution and have a low threshold to suspect concussion, then we might as well just cancel football (and hockey, lacrosse, wrestling, rugby, Aussie football, and soccer). ”

        Tom, your response sounds like an emotional / dramatic appeal that is not based in logic…

        A balance point… ??? Suggests you are perhaps overly concerned re returning to play / sports participation and not as much concerned re the health of the athlete ?

        From my perspective — There should always be an exclusive focus on appropriate health care such as follows:

        a) Protect the health & safety of the athlete

        and

        b) Do no harm to the athlete. (again please read # 3 in my previous post and reflect upon the content)

        Furthermore — why is there a ” rush to evaluate and return to play the same day ” if the athlete’s brain health may be at risk?

        What happened to :

        When in doubt…sit out ?

        2- Another comment of yours:

        ” Are there not any other possible explanations for the headache besides a potential concussion (Dehydration, Fatigue, Stress, Migraine)? ”

        Tom, your provided symptoms / examples are not mutually exclusive from suffering a concussion / brain injury.

        Furthermore, a concussion/ brain injury may easily create fatigue, stress / anxiety and Migraine and also lead to dehydration.

        Strongly suggest you read fallacies of logic offered online by the University of North Carolina’s Writing Center.

        3- Another comment of yours follows. Your query has a false premise and narrowly frames another question posed to me:

        ” The big question here is how do you define a SUSPECTED concussion? ”

        ” The big question… ” Tom, is your perspective…not mine…

        From my perspective, the accurate assessment and management of a brain injury is the focus, and this process is not simplistic…but complex.

        And… an athlete only receives one brain that should be both cherished and protected.

        4- Clinical assessment and management knowledge and clinical judgment are utilized to determine a suspected concussion.

        Peace.

      • Tom October 3, 2014 / 13:21

        Hi Don. I read your comment very carefully and I hope you noted that I did not resort to insults in my comments to you. You also never addressed the point I raised.

        You comment, “Suspected concussion…then removed from play for the day…PERIOD” My follow-up question is very simple – what is a suspected concussion? Would not a head impact which involves a concussion related symptom (e.g., headache) be considered a “suspected concussion”? If so, then my irrelevant research is not really a side issue, but central to the point. By your definition, this person should be removed. Please clarify where this wrong? If this correct, then a large percentage of players would be removed every single game if they report their symptoms honestly.

        Of course the role of the health care provider is to protect the health and well being of the student-athlete, I never implied otherwise.

      • Tom October 5, 2014 / 10:02

        Ok Don, as a Marriage & Family Therapist, how do you define a suspected concussion? Is that a broad based enough for you to be able to answer?

        Having viewed your public website, you are extraordinarily clear on your position that people that should not play football (as evidenced by your poem). Why not just come out and say that here?

        While I’m at the University of North Carolina’s Writing Center discussing the Black Swan and logical fallacies, perhaps I’ll meet you there as you’re working on basic sentence structure and paragraph formation.

      • October 5, 2014

        Tom,

        I have been gracious to you in my responses to your comments and taken much time to elaborate and explain about the complexity of assessing and managing a suspected concussion / brain injury.

        I have also kindly suggested you review fallacies of logic when presenting a position to me.

        Based on the content of your most recent comment…it now seems you wish to unreasonably attack my previous responses for whatever desired purpose / purposes.

        Thus simplistically stated via the assistance of an online dictionary:

        sus•pect

        verb

        verb: suspect; 3rd person present: suspects; past tense: suspected; past participle: suspected; gerund or present participle: suspecting
        səˈspekt/

        have an idea or impression of the existence, presence, or truth of (something) without certain proof.

        1- if you suspect a gas leak, do not turn on an electric light

        2- If you suspect a concussion / brain injury…

        and in order to conduct an adequate and thorough assessment that rules in / rule’s out the presence of a concussion / brain injury, then all the following are components of this process:

        sit out ;

        remove from play;

        do no harm

        protect the athlete’s brain and health

      • Tom,

        Your October 5th, 2005 comment addressed to me re ” Marriage & Family Therapist ” misrepresents to the TCB readers my various obtained licenses and certifications.

        Since you reported visiting my website you would have found the following credentials listed:

        Don Brady, PhD, PsyD, NCSP, LMFT, CAS

        Licensed Psychologist (Specialty – Clinical Psychologist)

        Nationally and New York State Certified School Psychologist

        Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist

        Nationally Certified Addictions Specialist

        Peace.

      • Tom,

        Your October 5th, 2014 comment addressed to me re ” Marriage & Family Therapist ” misrepresents to the TCB readers my various obtained licenses and certifications.

        Since you reported visiting my website you would have found the following credentials listed:

        Don Brady, PhD, PsyD, NCSP, LMFT, CAS

        Licensed Psychologist (Specialty – Clinical Psychologist)

        Nationally and New York State Certified School Psychologist

        Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist

        Nationally Certified Addictions Specialist

        Peace.

  6. George Visger October 1, 2014 / 16:31

    Most people miss the boat here. Not trying to step on any toes though I’ve been known to do so on occasion and never been concerned with it when dealing with TBIs, but I will gladly compare my credentials with anyone on this issue.

    Its not about being informed when a player has sustained a 40 G force hit. = too late, damage done .

    It’s not about being able to diagnose a coup – contre coup injury where the brain sloshes around in the skull or whether its a vestibular injury. = too late, damage done.

    It’s not even about “when in doubt, hold them out,” though I totally agree with Brady.

    The big picture here is, why do we continue to have our KIDS play a game where you use your brain as a weapon to hit people with, while other people are trying to hit you with theirs? It’s one thing when adults make an educated decision to do so. But kids????

    I’m brain damaged from my 9 football caused brain surgeries, but even I know that’s asinine.

    I loved the game, played on championship Pee Wee, championship Pop Warner, undefeated/nationally ranked high school team, in the 77 Orange Bowl, and 81 Super Bowl championship team, and I have a degree in Biology. Been there, done that, and understand the physics and physiology better than most, and understand the pain and suffering families are subjected to when a loved one suffers a TBI.

    The human brain was not meant to be used as a weapon for peoples enjoyment. ESPECIALLY your own children’s.

    Lost my business in 2011 due to football caused short term memory issues, lost our home in 2012 due to football caused short term memory issues, lost my mind and rated 100% disabled by Social Security in 2012 due to football caused short term memory issues, and losing my wife of 19 years and mother of my children to divorce in 2014 due to football caused short term memory issues.

    It’s only a game for heaven’s sake. There’s got to be other ways for people to get their jollies.

    Fire away at me folks;

    My son’s not playing.

    George Visger
    The Visger Group – Traumatic Brain Injury Consulting
    http://www.thevisgergroup.org

    • Mark Picot October 1, 2014 / 19:10

      Hey George, we spoke a while back. New data shows vestibular injury can be mitigated with pre screening to determine if orthopedics and orthodontics are out of alignment prior to play, deficiencies that could lead to neck weakening and musculature asymmetry. Symptoms of vestibular injury are dizziness, nausea, inner ear ringing, headache, dings ect. These are the whiplash, jaw blow, events when it’s not so obvious there is an injury, or it could be a complete Ko’ and the next thing you know the player is up and acting as if nothing happened. Similar to a standing ten count in boxing. It’s now thought Coup contra coup injury is much more debilitating and disorientating, with players sometimes out cold for ten to twenty minutes. There is nothing mild about any MTBI, but now researchers have at least begun to categorize the types of trauma in hope of targeting deficiencies and mechanisms involved. Hope your doing well.

      • George Visger October 2, 2014 / 00:43

        Thanks for the refresher course Mark.
        I am very well aware of the premise of athletic enhancement through vestibular alignment and need not be reminded of the symptoms, as they are the same symptoms I’ve had hourly for the last 33 years.

        You don’t need to be unconscious to have suffered a coup contra coup injury, nor to have suffered a concussion. The point I make and one people continue to miss is irregardless of the equipment, rules or prophylatics, the human brain was not meant to play football. Whether you love the game, watch it, play it whatever, I really don’t think anyone would argue that playing football is non-injurius or good for brain cells.

        As far as players suffering coup contra coup injuries being out for 10 – 20 minutes, read the following on a team mate of mine from the University of Colorado I watched go into convulsions after a Nebraska game, prior to undergoing a 7 hour brain surgery to save his life. These kinds of injuries are much more common than people think.

        Tom Perry and I are not the only team mates I’ve had who had brain surgeries.

      • Mark Picot October 2, 2014 / 06:32

        George,
        I think we can agree, football is not going away. Creating higher standards to help prepare athletes with more stringent pre screening prior to play by implementing upper body and neck strength tests is crucial. Different types of orthodontic and neuromuscular mouth guards are available to address cervical spine and vestibular symptoms. Just as the football helmet was the focus of new technological developments, research has validated these new approaches in mouth guards to help balance neck strength. I’m sure when you were playing, many players wore nothing in their mouths or the thin pieces of plastic that did nothing to address vestibular issues. Coupled with the low tech helmets, it was crazy.

      • George Visger October 2, 2014 / 16:54

        Just want to say this is an awesome dialogue folks. I commend all for the time and expertise you bring to this conversation.

        Love the passion, you’ve got my juices flowing.

        Mark, I disagree football’s not going away. Maybe not for a while, but after this NFL lawsuit plays out, and the huge class action head injury lawsuit college players filed against the NCAA and more high school kids die playing a game, like the 3rd one in 3 weeks did last night, what insurance company in their right mind will write a policy????

        And what Pop Warner and high school teams will be able to afford liability insurance?

        I loved the game, am the last one who wants to see it go away, but unless folks pull their heads out of the sand (and their butts), they game will be gone for the sake of $$.

        Big Tobacco is still rolling, but only after they were drug kicking and screaming to do what’s right.

        We just need to do whats best for the kid’s brains and quit worrying about sissifying the game.

        It’s only a game

    • George,

      I agree 150% re with your view re youths not engaging in tackle football.

      My above perspective re “SUSPECT…” was made to emphasize the apparent lack of logic occurring within the ” Suspect a concussion evaluation process “.

      Furthermore, since the neurological system and cognitive functioning continues to mature through adolescence, a subtle or not so subtle pediatric brain injury could adversely impact this development. It is also possible that a neurocognitive disability would not be detected until a later period of time.

      Ironically, we send our child to school to enrich their brains, yet at the same time their brains are placed at risk for permanent damage via participation in tackle football.

      It also seems essential that accurate, intensive and continuing concussion / brain injury education becomes a cornerstone of effective concussion recognition and management.

      Patients are informed of potential side effects of medicines or risks involved in surgery so that they may make an informed decision about whether or not to allow a specific the medical intervention.

      It therefore seems reasonable that parents’ of youths should be provided with accurate concussion awareness and knowledge necessary to make a wise choice about their child’s participation in a particular sport.

      Parents who allow their children to participate in contact /collision sport of football also need to be well informed to the point of knowing their child ALWAYS HAS A STATISTICAL CHANCE OF BEING SERIOUSLY BRAIN INJURED OR OF DYING on the football field. Please see the recent Time magazine article re the death of a youth on the football field.

      Along the same lines, perhaps rather than asking ” How can football be made safer ? “, a more precise question to raise is an extension of Robeson and King’s (2014) perspectives.

      The question follows:

      ” Can a dangerous and violent game be made less dangerous or violent? ”

      George, I know of other former NFL Players who also share the following similar conclusion as yours …

      ” Football can’t be made less dangerous or violent. ”

      Peace.

    • George,

      I agree 150% re with your view re youths not engaging in tackle football.

      My above perspective re “SUSPECT…” was made to emphasize the apparent lack of logic occurring within the ” Suspect a concussion evaluation process “.

      Furthermore, since the neurological system and cognitive functioning continues to mature through adolescence, a subtle or not so subtle pediatric brain injury could adversely impact this development. It is also possible that a neurocognitive disability would not be detected until a later period of time.

      Ironically, we send our child to school to enrich their brains, yet at the same time their brains are placed at risk for permanent damage or death via participation in tackle football.

      It also seems essential that accurate, intensive and continuing concussion / brain injury education becomes a cornerstone of effective concussion recognition and management.

      Patients are informed of potential side effects of medicines or risks involved in surgery so that they may make an informed decision about whether or not to allow the medical intervention.

      It therefore seems reasonable that parents’ of youths should be provided with accurate concussion awareness and knowledge necessary to make a wise choice about their child’s participation in a particular sport.

      Parents who allow their children to participate in the contact /collision sport of football also need to be well informed to the point of knowing their child ALWAYS HAS A STATISTICAL CHANCE OF BEING SERIOUSLY BRAIN INJURED OR OF DYING on the football field. Please see the recent Time magazine article re the death of a youth on the football field.

      Along the same lines, perhaps rather than asking ” How can football be made safer ? “, a more precise question to raise is an extension of Robeson and King’s (2014) perspectives.

      The question follows:

      ” Can a dangerous and violent game be made less dangerous or violent ? ”

      George, I know of other former NFL Players who also share the following similar conclusion as yours …

      ” Football can’t be made less dangerous or violent. ”

      Peace.

  7. Dorothy Bedford October 2, 2014 / 07:51

    A thorough analysis, Dustin, and I accept your ultimate assessment that Michigan staffers were in fact trying to do and, quickly if not immediately, did the right thing, to which I would only add two observations:

    First: brain injury frequently involves loss of both memory and judgment. We all know players who took a hit and “woke up” after having completed the game. Which is why each person with a role in American football has to continue step it up to protect players from themselves. Putting it on injured players to self-report is only part of the solution.

    Second, the other man in the collision was Minnesota star DE Thereis Cockran (#55) who led the team in sacks last season, a pre-season pick for “All Big Ten,” etc. Obviously NFL material. Coach Jerry Kill spoke out the same day you posted (Chicago Tribune 10/1), apparently feeling obligated to assert that Cockran’s late hit was not intentional.

    Fine – it is still up to the officials to enforce the (controversial, and inconsistently-applied) targeting rule (under which the crew could have stopped the game to review the play, get it right, possibly eject Cockran and costing him future playing time). Roughing the passer was adequate, but there was another tool in the toolbox.

    Did Big Ten crews get hammered on inconsistent targeting calls last year? Probably. Are they shy this year ? Probably not. Another Big Ten crew called targeting on Rutgers last Saturday, on another standout Big Ten defensive player. In the Big Ten, as part of normal protocol, coaches submit plays to be reviewed by the conference’s head officials after every game. That should be an interesting meeting this week.

    (Nationally, as of 9/24, SEC coordinator of officials Steve Shaw was quoted as saying there had been 27 targeting calls in 275 games, seven of which had been overturned on review. Targeting is trending downward in its second year, which may be a positive sign that the message is getting through.)

    In conclusion, let’s give young Cockran enough guidance to avoid becoming the next James Harrison. It’ll help save the game. And thank you to the men in stripes for all they do.

    PS, this Jersey Girl just noticed: lucky for Michigan, they play Rutgers on Saturday – Scarlet Knights’ free safety Jonathan Aiken (a Big Ten defensive player of the week) will be sitting out the first half as part of his targeting penalty. Minnesota has a bye.

  8. Dustin Fink October 3, 2014 / 09:34

    Please keep the dialogue going… I am glad I was able to bring some eyes and thought to this…

    Mark, football is not going anywhere for a while, changes are constant and well intentioned…

    Don, good leg work as usual…

    Tom, wonderful job of adding some finer points that I didn’t eloquently state in the post…

    Dorthy, I hear you…

    Angela & Brooke, sensors are not the panacea, and are not rigorously stringent enough to rely upon them…

    All… Concussions are subjective in nature, we must continue to rely heavily upon the player being honest. I know that is an issue with many of you because they are “impaired” but most players know when they are “messed” up…

    • Brooke de Lench October 3, 2014 / 11:59

      Dustin, Nice platform you are providing-thank you. Since football is not going away our energies are well spent in risk reduction management.

      Yes, you are correct, Impact Sensors can never be a panacea (remedy), but my prediction is that a comprehensive risk evaluation on the U Michigan event will be done by someone with medical training degree (ATC most likely) and who has a comprehensive amount of experience about football knowledge. In his report, front and center, will be the implementation impact sensors. I’d bet a nickle on this.

      By the by, now into my third year of field testing a total of seven different sensors (and Kevin Guskiewicz’s ten years of field tests of the H.I.T system) I can say with knowledge that sensors are very accurate monitors and would have picked up the hit.

      I have stood on side lines many times watching kids with four different models on/in helmets and am impressed that they all are very close in calibration/calculating the G force of the hit.

      I do not recommend that any sensor be used w/o an ATC who has been taught to interpret them. Nor, will I ever advocate the counting or tracking of hits on minors. Onward.

      • jbloggs13 October 4, 2014 / 07:31

        Dorothy,

        With due respect, the sensor studies and the rating systems are scientific trash. Guzkiewicz, Broglio, Duma, and Rowson have been running games on the public for a decade. These studies could only gain traction in sports medicine were the standards are based on poorly designed studies promoted by nonsensical PR hype.

        The public wants a magic bullet. These guys have been great at raising money and hope. Mr. Visger’s very thoughtful comment is correct. Baugh published a study a few days ago suggesting 1 in 27 concussions is recorded in sample of college football teams. If the sensors had any degree of accuracy then VATech/Wake Forest/UNC should have reported this years ago. Perhaps you should query, the sensor complex on why so many concussions seemed to missed in their own studies.

        Keep buying the BS. It keeps people like Nowinski (now selling sensor certification) and those named above in business. You are deluded that any of these people are genuinely interested in athlete safety. All have engaged in behavior that is resonant of late night cancer shark cartilage cures and male potency boosters. Film some guys in lab coats, surround by bells and whistles, and hopefully no one asks too many questions before they cash out.

      • Mark Picot October 4, 2014 / 10:23

        Lab coats created smoke screens and downplayed anything that wasn’t their idea, its interesting what Collins and UPMC is doing with vestibular issues;

        Simple test
        My daughter came off the soccer field and complained of headache and ear pain, she cold here herself breathing. She had fallen a few times but no indication she hit her head.

        I asked her to open her mouth to see if her headache went away or lessened, she did so and when her mouth was wide open, her headache went away. When closed it came back.

        Could this be a test to indicate if this is inner ear / vestibular injury or coup contra coup injury.

        New publication, Julian Bales, interesting, good if your having trouble sleeping.

        http://books.google.com/books?id=Q7oFBAAAQBAJ&pg=PA362&lpg=PA362&dq=cervicogenic+headache+mouthpiece&source=bl&ots=0CbNcMQ8Xo&sig=u58kibCe86cP1G31499H172dMg4&hl=en&sa=X&ei=Jw8wVMXCAdWfyASrn4C4DQ&ved=0CCgQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=cervicogenic%20headache%20mouthpiece&f=false

      • Brooke de Lench October 4, 2014 / 11:44

        Please feel free to contact me offline. I usually do not respond to anonymous individuals but happy to give you links to our own work and if you have a team we may add you to our 2015 pilot program so you have a solid understanding of the limits and capabilities of sensors. In my experience folks who know the most are the ones like us who are field testing many.

      • Brooke de Lench October 4, 2014 / 11:17

        Mr Brady,

        You are getting away from the spirit of this platform Mr. Fink is providing, however I am more than happy to provide an answer.

        Every impact sensor, tablet and software package needed to monitor our teams that we are evaluating and have in the past evaluated, has been donated in kind directly by the manufacturer. We do not allow helmet companies, impact sensor manufacturers, or any third party add-ons for any helmets to provide funding, donations or grants to MomsTEAM Institute. We are continually researching each sensor and invite the manufacturers that we feel most confident (that we will eventfully approve of) to participate. We have IRBs in place from major Universities for our SmartTeams pilot programs and have not allowed anyone other than our Board of Directors and seven university researchers to read or have any say in the process. Our hope is by being conflict free we can provide sports parents unencumbered by conflicts of interest. One of the benefits of the impact sensor manufactures participating in our studies is that they also receive our feedback on what we feel will be the best products for each sport and age group.

        We also have a three year contract from PBS to update the technology information on our documentary “THE SMARTEST TEAM: Making High School Football Safer” that features two impact sensors. They have very stringent policies.

        In the interest of full discloser, up until one year ago, September of 2013, we did allow helmet companies, impact sensor manufacturers, and third party add-ons to place advertising banners on MomsTEAM.com. As we began to comprehend the fast growth of these products, the importance and complexity of providing comprehensive, accurate and honest information to our audience, we implemented a policy that only allows these companies to purchase advertising in our conference programs- at no other time are they allowed to provide us with funding. So far our summit this past September 15, at Harvard University was the only summit we have held.

        Please feel free to contact me directly or visit our Impact Sensor Product Guide which is a sub channel of our Youth Sports Concussion Channel on MomsTEAM for comprehensive information that is updated weekly:

        Link:: http://www.momsteam.com/health-safety/concussion-safety
        Link: http://www.momsteam.com/health-safety/sports-concussion-safety/hit-count-sensors.

        Brooke de Lench
        Executive Director MomsTEAM Institute

        Producer: THE SMARTEST TEAM: Making High School Football Safer (PBS)

        Author: Home Team Advantage: The Critical Role of Mothers in Youth Sports (Harper Collins)

        delench@MomsTEAM.com
        http://www.MomsTeamInstitute.org

      • Brooke de Lench October 4, 2014 / 11:27

        Don,

        See my answer to your question below RE funding.

        Brooke

      • jbloggs13 October 4, 2014 / 20:48

        Ms. de Lench,

        I read your sensor piece on Mom’s Team. These systems have little utility. One does not need high speed linear impacts to generate a concussion. It is not a necessary condition. The reason these investigators keep babbling about high g linear impacts is that is what the instruments measure. In a decade, Mr. Guzkiewicz did not report more concussions, one his his latest co-authored papers, suggested if one changed helmets from one Riddell model to another the number of concussions would decline 54% (pure tripe).

        I realize it data, computers, guys who win genius grants and people who have lots of letters after their names are seductive. Again, why didn’t any of these experts observe that their models had little to know predictive value since the number of concussions reported were consistent with the models they developed? Nonetheless, if their models have concurrent validity with a grossly under reported number of concussions, then the entire endeavor is flawed.

        Most children will never have sufficient exposure to develop CTE.Nonetheless, a child’s exposure to repetitive head trauma can have serious outcomes especially when undetected and untreated (as most are). How many hits are sufficient to cause a learning disability, acquired ADHD, depression, impulse control disorder or anxiety disorder? Should be using children to establish these thresholds without supervision? If the models used to establish these risks are flawed, then it is even worse.

        As with many health charities, Mom’s Teams motivations are good and these efforts well intentioned but very susceptible to researchers offering attractive solutions that may ultimately divert resources from more promising but far less attractive means of dealing with the problem.

        Remember somel of these researchers are involved in promoting Heads Up and are on the record encouraging children as young as 8 to play in helmets and pads. I guess when the NFL is paying you one will say almost anything.

      • Ms. de Lench,

        1- Received a TCB ” new comment ” notice this morning…October 16, 2014.

        …seems your previous Oct 4, 2014 response ” just appeared from cyberspace today, Oct 16, 2014 ” on The Concussion Blog.

        2- I believe my questions ARE completely within the ” spirit of the The Concussion Blog “…of which my understanding includes asking for full disclosure and thus, the corresponding avoidance of any possible conflicts of interest.

        In addition, my questions raised are also clearly & directly related to information that you posted on TCB.

        3- Furthermore, please also note that I have not seen a complete response to my October 8th, 2014 post that asked:

        ” Given the various activities that momteams.com participates in, am curious as to the various sources of funding that support these activities…

        along with the NAMES of the seven researchers and [NAMES of the IRBs] members ? ”

        Thank you for an anticipated response.

  9. Mark Picot October 3, 2014 / 09:52

    Right, many inner city and towns down south live for football, change will be very slow. One change we can make today is to recognize and create two categories of head injury, upper and lower. Mickey Collins article needs to be taken seriously and more people, doc’s, coaches, parents, ect. need to adopt these surveillance techniques in determining weather an athlete has a lower head or vestibular injury or an upper head or coup injury. This will help address protocols in sitting out, return to play and the amount of rest needed. Also, prior to play a rigorous evaluation of head neck strength symmetry, cervical spine position and orthodintics/orthpedics must become the norm. Finding deficiencies and correcting them via, rehab, orthodontic appliances or specialized neck exercises, will help to better prepare the player prior to stepping on the practice field or on game day. This should not be part of return to play protocols, then it’s to late.

    • jbloggs13 October 4, 2014 / 19:16

      Why would anyone take anything Mickey Collins published seriously? He practices outside his field and has failed on repeated occasions to report conflicts of interest.

      You might want to look into Mickey’s articles claiming Riddell helmets reduced concussions by 34%. The FTC had to slam that one down.

      What do you think is going to happen when the NFL settlement is concluding Mickey, Mark, Joe Impact and UPMC will be high up on the list to be sued?

      As far as vestibular issues and neck injury, the best work was conducted at Buffalo. I don’t know where that stands.

      Nonetheless, if you still trying to sell mouth guards you should point people to a study conducted at Wisconsin study conducted by Allison Brooks that not only confirm mouth guards do not prevent concussion but custom mouth guards may actually increase the likelihood of concussions.

      • Mark Picot October 5, 2014 / 08:05

        in league of Denial Lovell shows remorse in what “they” got caught up in, Collins say’s at the end of the article that they are finally headed in the right direction. I believe that.

        They are referring to an article published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine, don’t think Collins was a part of that.

        –the mouth guard research you site did not use neurmuscular/orthodontic appliances, just standard custom fit that don’t align the jaw. As a result, they are making my point. Appliances that ignore an individuals orthodontic deficiencies or occlusion, can exacerbate the risk. A recent statement by Dr. Noshir Mehta head of research at Tufts, ignoring occlusion is dangerous.

        How it works,my company trains dentists/orthodontists, teaching how to evaluate and find deficiencies, all based in research. The patient can then choose the level of precision and expense they want. I feel these evaluation techniques would be valuable in any trainers room.

      • Brooke de Lench October 5, 2014 / 09:51

        Dear jbloggs 13 (in Reply to your reply to me abouve)

        Which one? We have about thirty articles and blogs on impact sensors.

        It appears that you are very confused and not at all well versed on the capabilities/functionality of impact sensors. If you read all of our comprehensive articles on sensors and the FAQ you would understand that the sensors that monitor “rotational” hits are most important.

        I invite you to turn you confusion, anger and bitterness into something positive. Send me an email and let’s see how we may collaborate on something our audience will find as useful and beneficial. Until then you are just an “anonymous nobody” spouting off on a reputable platform.

        Brooke de Lench
        Executive Director MomsTEAM Institute
        Producer: THE SMARTEST TEAM: Making High School Football Safer (PBS)
        Author: Home Team Advantage: The Critical Role of Mothers in Youth Sports (Harper Collins)
        delench@MomsTEAM.com
        http://www.MomsTeamInstitute.org

  10. Ms.de Leach — re your sensor funding response

    Am online and find no response of yours below re your specific sources of funding…nor do I find any response of yours.

    Perhaps cyberspace occurrences / deletions are happening ?…thus please resubmit your response.

    Thanks.

    • Brooke de Lench October 5, 2014 / 09:39

      Don,

      I provided links before so it may not have been posted. Again,

      Every impact sensor, tablet and software package needed to monitor the high school and youth (6-12) teams that we are monitoring and have in the past evaluated, have been donated in-kind directly by the manufacturers. We do not allow helmet companies, impact sensor manufacturers, or any third party add-on for any type of helmets to provide funding, donations or grants to MomsTEAM Institute.

      We are continually researching each sensor and only invite manufacturers that we feel most confident (that we will eventfully approve of) to participate.

      We have IRBs in place from major universities for our SmartTeams pilot programs and have not allowed anyone other than our Board of Directors and seven university researchers to read or have any say in the process. Our hope is by being conflict free we can provide sports parents unencumbered by conflicts of interest.

      One of the benefits of the impact sensor manufactures participating in our studies is that they also receive our feedback on what we feel will be the best features or enhancements for each sport and age group. Note: Most ice Hockey sensors are calibrated different from Lax and football, etc.

      We also have a three year contract from PBS to update the technology information on our documentary “THE SMARTEST TEAM: Making High School Football Safer” that features two impact sensors. They have very stringent policies.

      In the interest of full discloser, from 2000 to September of 2013, we did allow a few helmet companies, impact sensor manufacturers, and third party add-ons to place advertising on MomsTEAM.com. As we began to comprehend the fast growth of these products, and the importance and complexity of providing comprehensive, accurate and honest information to our audience, we implemented a policy that only allows these companies to purchase advertising in our conference programs. Anyone cans sponsor our summits (but not all are approved of). So far our summit this past September 15, held at Harvard University School of medicine was the only summit we have created.

      Please feel free to contact me directly or visit our comprehensive Impact Sensor Product Guide which is a sub channel of our Youth Sports Concussion Channel on MomsTEAM for comprehensive information that is updated weekly.

      Brooke de Lench
      Executive Director MomsTEAM Institute
      Producer: THE SMARTEST TEAM: Making High School Football Safer (PBS)
      Author: Home Team Advantage: The Critical Role of Mothers in Youth Sports (Harper Collins)
      delench@MomsTEAM.com
      http://www.MomsTeamInstitute.org

      • Ms. de Lench,

        Appreciate your informative reply.

        Given the various activities that momteams.com participates in, am curious as to the various sources of funding that support these activities…along with the names of the seven researchers and IRBs members ?

      • Brooke de Lench October 17, 2014 / 13:06

        Don,

        This is my final reply to all of your questions. Please note for the future, this blog is not set up to “ask” additional questions under an original answer. If you scroll to the end of each “reply” you will note that there is actually no way to re-reply. So, I have been posting my answers to your questions way down the page. You only need to keep scrolling down to read my timely answers.

        This is in response to your last question re our funding. I will take the high road and assume you want to fall under our halo by advertising or making a donation.

        While, again, this is not the appropriate forum to be answering random business questions, nor for taking the stage on behalf of MomsTEAM Institute and MomsTeam.com, I did check-in with Dustin and is fine to have me do so. And, since we have a surge in interest due to all the media attention that we have received lately, I will gladly take the stage.

        MomsTEAM Institute is a nonprofit organization that serves as an advocacy, watchdog, education and outreach group for the youth sports families and stakeholders with our mission of: protecting the whole sports active child. Among our primary programs we run the MomsTEAM website: a comprehensive, well sourced online publication going into our fifteenth year. Our vast audience is made up of sports parents, coaches, folks from the medical and allied medical professions. We sell advertising for this publication.

        We also sell ads for our enewsletters that go out to over 687,000 people. Our clients as you can see from banners are everyone from large brands Kimberly Clark, P&G, Tupperware, etc. to smaller companies needing to reach our sports parent audience. We are very selective as to who we allow to advertise. No sporting goods manufacturers as we need to provide evaluations.

        Summits: We just ran our first summit at Harvard Medical School in Boston called “SmartTeams Play Safe™: Protecting the Health and Safety of The Whole Child in Youth Sports.” Brochure advertisers, booth sponsors and ticket sales and donations funded this summit. All of our research pilot coordinators for our SmartTeams pilot programs and for our IRBs spoke at the summit. They are from USC, U Tennessee, AT Still, U Texas, U Tulsa, and Michigan State.

        Workshops, consulting and speaking engagements: Our team of experts and boards ‘parachute’ into communities, schools and leagues who need help in solving problems or with strategic plans for keeping kids safe while at play.

        Other programs that MomsTEAM Institute runs: creation and the sales of our books and films: “Home Team Advantage: The Critical Role of Mothers In Youth Sports” (Harper Collins), documentary- “THE SMARTEST TEAM: Making High School Football Safer” (PBS). We are currently filming our second documentary and finishing up our second book. “Home Team Advantage” is going into its third printing. Advances from the publishers and then sales fund this.

        SmartTeams Play Safe is our new national initiative that is gaining momentum albeit only in pilot programs this fall. Stay tuned as we will be asking for donations from you and all other sports parents who are seeking a more accountable and transparent sports system.

        Unlike many organizations that have recently sprung up out of ‘whole cloth” with significant questionable endowments, I think if you spend any time on MomsTEAM Institute, MomsTEAM.com you will appreciate the vast accomplishments over the span of fourteen years that an entire group of very hard working folks with a passion and who are dedicated to protecting our children.

        Due to my busy schedule this will be my last reply to you Mr. Brady. However, in the spirit of our outreach let me know by email how you would like to contribute to our mission of protecting children.

        Brooke de Lench

        delench@MomsTEAM.com
        Executive Director
        MomsTEAM Institute | SmartTeams

        Producer of “THE SMARTEST TEAM: Making High School Football Safer” (PBS 2014)

        Author: “Home Team Advantage: The Critical Role of Mothers in Youth Sports” (Harper Collins)

      • Ms. Brooke,

        1- Sadly not only have YOU AGAIN NOT ANSWERED MY QUESTIONS, you have also apparently made a poor attempt to discount or trivalize my extremely reasonable and pertinent questions by labeling them ” random business questions “.

        Since when are requesting full disclosure re research funding, and researchers and IRB names merely “random business questions?

        2- You have also apparently made a feeble attempt to consistently discount my credentials by addressing me as Mr. as opposed to Dr. when you are well aware of my doctoral degrees and professional licenses.

        3- Requesting both full disclosure re research funding and specific names of researchers and IRB members are quite reasonable and timely ethical questions to raise…

        …and clearly are not so-called ” random business questions ”

        …but are FUNDAMENTAL and CORE QUESTIONS discussed within both undergraduate and graduate research courses.

        4- I have displayed a long term concern for protecting athletes of all ages from the minimizing, denial and sanitizing of multiple short term and long term adverse effects of concussions / brain injuries that occur within a well documented and frequent self-serving conflict of interest (COI) sport-related concussion arena .

        Furthermore, numerous NFL players have shared with me significant concerns re the existing COIs occurring within football along with the ever presence of apparent charlatans and hucksters that are attempting to obtain financial benefits and prestige at the expense of unsuspecting athletes’ and their respective brains.

        Along the lines of COIs, Lemons et al. (1998) cited and utilized Thompson’s (1993) definition of conflict of interest in their discussion of this sensitive topic.

        Conflict of interest (COI) was defined as “a set of conditions in which professional judgment concerning the primary interest (such as a patient’s welfare or the validity of research) tends to be unduly formed by a secondary interest (such as financial gains)” (p. 573).

        The study’s authors further noted that, dependent upon the physician’s role of health care provider or researcher, the primary interests and obligations should focus on providing effective treatment for their patient or obtaining scientific knowledge.

        According to Thompson (1993), secondary interests included financial benefits, prestige, and academic advancement.

        Typically, COIs have been narrowly viewed as being only financial interests (Alpert, 2002). Some examples of financial interests include, but are not limited to, employment, consulting, guest speaking, serving as expert witnesses, and ownership of stock (International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, 1999).

        These secondary interests have the potential for undermining the public trust in the objectivity of clinicians (Lemmens et al, 1998) and researchers (Angell, M., 2002) [and IRB members] through compromising the morally and historically-based physician’s primary responsibility to his or her patients (Shortell et al., 1998).

        Don Brady, PhD, PsyD, NCSP, LMFT, CAS

        Licensed Clinical Psychologist
        Nationally and NYS Certified School Psychologist
        Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist
        Nationally Certified Addictions Specialist

    • Brooke de Lench October 20, 2014 / 14:36

      October 20, 2014

      Don,

      Funding has not been provided (now or in the future) for our university research partners for the IRBs issued for the study of impact sensors or for any of our other studies coming from our SmartTeams pilot youth football programs this fall. This would be a clear conflict.

      Our SmartTeams research is a perfect collaborative effort in the spirit of learning more about, and then providing the youth sports community with a better understanding of the capabilities and limitations of impact sensors (and other protective equipment) as well as other critical information that we are gathering about our youngest football players – ages 5-12. From our studies we expect to expand on the MomsTEAM Institute | SmartTeam “best practice” list that we as a nonprofit organization will announce in 2015 during the national launch of the “SmartTeams Play Safe” program.

      All of our studies will be made public as will many new videos. MomsTEAM has a staff videographer who is in the process of creating about 50 new videos.

      This being said, we welcome all unrestricted donations from private individuals who have relied on our fifteen years of comprehensive and objective information without any conflict of interest.

      Brooke de Lench
      delench@MomsTEAM.com
      Producer: THE SMARTEST TEAM: Making High School Football Safer (PBS 2014)

      • Ms. de Lench,

        1- Are you saying in your following Oct 20, 2014 response that there are NO SOURCES OF FUNDING RESOURCES for CONDUCTING the sensor research or for the university research partners ?

        AND THAT THE RESEARCH PARTNERS ARE CONDUCTING THIS RESEARCH WITHOUT RECEIVING ANY financial, prestige or other BENEFITS outlined in my previous post?

        Your Oct 20, 2014 post:

        ” Funding has not been provided (now or in the future) for our university research partners for the IRBs issued for the study of impact sensors or for any of our other studies coming from our SmartTeams pilot youth football programs this fall. ..without any conflict of interest. ”

        ————————————————–

        2- Please clarify your below statement — by sharing with whom specifically is momsteam collaborating with…?

        ” Our SmartTeams research is a perfect collaborative effort in the spirit of learning more about…”

        3- Furthermore, please also note that I HAVE NOT YET SEEN A COMPLETE RESPONSE to my previous questions posted on TCB…these questions previously asked:

        A) Given the various activities that momteams.com participates in, am curious as to the various sources of funding that support these sensor research activities…

        B) along with the NAMES of the seven researchers and NAMES of the IRBs members ? ”

        Requesting both full disclosure re research funding and specific names of researchers and IRB members are quite reasonable and timely ethical questions to raise…

        AND NOW FOR FURTHER CLARITY…THESE QUESTIONS ARE EXPANDED TO:

        Thus, for clarity purposes, has momsteam.com received any funding directly from the NFL or from any organizations that have received funding from the NFL ?

        Have any of the reported 7 sensor researchers received any funding directly from:

        – the NFL or from any organizations that have received funding from the NFL

        or from any sensor company or sensor-related company?

        or from some other source of funding?

        Thank you for an anticipated response.

      • Brooke de Lench October 21, 2014 / 13:12

        Don,

        Again, we at MomsTEAM Institute have no conflicts. We do not allow funding from NFL, NATA, Impact manufacturers or helmet companies or anyone else directly or indirectly. We are not a front group nor take dark money associated with any of these entities. We research and write comprehensive well sourced investigative articles on ways to protect athletic children. We thank many of the more than 35 million sports parents for their generous donations who have counted on us for the past fourteen years to provide objective and provide transparent information.

        For example: Buyer Beware (Part 1): Claims That Equipment Can Prevent Concussions Too Good To Be True

        http://www.momsteam.com/blog/brooke-de-lench/buyer-beware-claims-that-equipment-can-prevent-concussions-too-good-be-true

        Don, does all of your badgering and harassing me on this blog (which should be about player safety) and in my private emails from you (spanning five years) have anything to do with the fact that the MomsTEAM editors refused to share your “concussion” related articles because they do not meet our editorial standards? Seems like sour grapes. Think the full thread of your agitation to many others speaks volumes. I suggest you focus on your divorce and family issues practice and give this a break.

        In closing, finally, an important law review article by me and our Senior Health and Safety editor Lindsey Barton Straus, JD will be pre-published next week and offered to a handful of editors prior to publication. I will also be writing a series of our own articles and will address many of our upcoming articles from our SmartTeams pilot programs we have been running since July. At that time we will be proudly introducing all of our research partners. In order to have the least amount of “noise” we do our work in private.

        Be well but more important –Be Smart.

        Brooke de Lench

        New article I suggest you read to the end: New York Times Canadian District Goes to School on Concussions

        http://nyti.ms/ZexePP

      • Ms. De Lench,

        1- My fundamental research questions fit well within the scope of The Concussion Blog.

        2- Interestingly – you continue to avoid responding to my question re the names of the 7 researchers and IRB members and the related questions.

        You also again continue, by apparent and illogical ” red herring ” / distracting comments, make aggressive antagonistic, misleading comments and gross misinterpretations of post content …including your illogical notion of sour grapes…and other significantly misleading comments to readers that I will not dignify by responding to…

        3- I don’t possess the copyright to the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) published Sport-Related Concussion (SRC) articles that my wife and I co-authored. NASP possesses the copyright.

        I have been approached multiple times for permission to have the SRC articles content placed on websites. Since NASP possesses the copyright, I have advised the person to contact NASP for approval.

        …and to my knowledge, NASP has not permitted anyone or any organization to post either article on requested websites.

        Furthermore, the content of these articles have consistently received significant and favorable feedback from numerous professionals within various disciplines.

  11. George Visger October 8, 2014 / 16:42

    Dustin,
    I feel slighted you didn’t mention me in your thank yous. You know I’m a sensitive guy. I hope you send flowers. LOL

    For all you EXPERTS taking about concussions, again, you all miss the boat. Multiple sub concussive hits are just as damaging. Below is a letter and email exchange I received from the mother of a former high school player, who never had a “concussion”, who never played in college or the pros, who suffered for years with depression and other cognitive problems, who HUNG HIMSELF this year at age 25, and who’s brain was diagnosed with stage 3 – 4 CTE.

    God Bless Debra for allowing me to post our email exchange. In her years of struggle, she said I am the first to actually help her.

    And I’m brain damaged……

    Debra Pyka Reply

    I received this heart breaking email from the mother of a near perfect former high school student, and former high school football player who was never diagnosed with a concussion. Debra relayed to me Joseph’s last few years were a constant battle with depression. His last night he left the house very upset and told his mother he didn’t know if he could go on. When he didn’t return home later that night, Debra and her family drove the streets for hours looking in trees for his hanging body. I relay this horrible nightmare and horror, not to sensationalize Joseph’s death, but to try to comprehend the torture and anguish Debra and her family must have felt those hours they spent in hell looking for Joseph. And the hell a young man in the prime of his life must have felt. The same hell 18 of our NFL brothers have felt in the last few years.

    Debra is a hospice nurse and stated her daughter found Joseph the next morning hanging in their tool shed. He’d been dead since leaving the house the night before.

    As a man who has survived 9 NFL caused emergency VP Shunt brain surgeries, 33 years of NFL caused gran mal seizures, diagnosed with pre frontal lobe dementia, major cognitive impairments, was rated 100% disabled by Social Security over 2 years ago due to major cognitive impairments (I function fine, just can’t remember what I did 2 hours ago), and who qualifies for zero NFL benefits, and will qualify for very little, if any, benefits in the bogus NFL/Riddell Head Injury Lawsuit, I am beyond livid after speaking to Debra for well over an hour. I can probably feel her pain and anger as much as any.

    Had the NFL stepped to the plate, and released the information they are with holding on what they knew and when they knew it, maybe Joseph would still be alive today.

    As Debra told me, she is on a mission to have all young, former high school football players who commit suicide tested for CTE.

    What if this is an epidemic which has been going on for years?

    Please read the following email exchange I had with Josephs mother Debra.

    Debra Pyka From: Debra Pyka
    Subject: NFL research
    Date: September 16, 2014 at 10:46:40 PM EDT
    To: George Visger

    Message Body:
    My son died 2 years ago from suicide at the age of 25, later to be diagnosed with CTE stage 2 to3 by Dr. Ann McKee. I have written letters to all my federal senators/ congress in my state of WI, Michelle Obama, the White House and last week sent a letter to John Conyers (House Judiciary Committee).  I requested that  congress force the NFL to turn over the research they have been hiding and denying in re: head trauma and concussions, in my letter I explained the NFL sponsors our children who play pop-warner through high school football and the parents had a right to be informed of this research, the dangers and brain diseases playing football can cause.  Our government oversees our schools and our children are playing sports on school property.  I have not received a response from any of these politicians and the letters were sent in April 2014.  They have all turned their backs on my dead son and not even acknowledged his death or our grief and loss. I’m still waiting for a response from John Conyers.  What can I do, no one will listen to me?

    Debra
    I am so sorry to hear of your son’s death. Please keep in mind that CTE in the frontal lobe impacts your judgement. I’m sure your son would never have gone through with his suicide had he been able to think things through and thought of how painful it would be for you and your family.
    I have met with several of our Congressional representatives regarding traumatic brain injuries, particularly in the NFL.  As a survivor of 9 NFL caused VP shunt brain surgeries and no NFL benefits, I’ve been forced to become an expert on the subject. 
    I will pass on your email to Terry Wardley of Senator Ted Gaines office and Congresswoman Linda Sanchez, with whom The Visger Group sat down with last year regarding this issue,  

    From: george visger Sent: Sunday, September 28, 2014 6:19 PM To: Debra Pyka
    Subject: Re: pathology reports

    ———- Forwarded message ———-
    From: Debra Pyka <deannp@centurytel.net>
    Date: Thu, Sep 25, 2014 at 7:01 PM
    Subject: CTE and forwarding my concerns to Linda Sanchez
    To: visgergeorge@gmail.com

    George: Thank you for relaying my concerns with my son and CTE. You are the only one who has listened to me so far. I am beyond pissed at my politicians for ignoring my letters. I read the enclosed stories on you and I am so shocked at all the suffering you have and will go through. If I could have only known about CTE before my sons suicide, all the signs were there and I knew nothing about CTE until after, when my oldest son asked me to have his brain sent to BU. I will not stop with making my voice heard until the day that I die. This mothers wrath will come down on someone soon. I will go to the newspaper if I don’t get a response/action from those I wrote letters to. I hope the research is made public soon and the NFL is shut down and heads roll. I would like to talk with you one day if  you have time. I hope you can recover and there is a cure for this brain disease sooner than later. This is my sons story; http://www.sportslegacy.org/research/legacy-donors/joseph-chernach/

     Thank you> Debra Pyka

    Debra,
    It was great talking to you today.  I am so sorry it’s under these circumstances. I feel your pain, and can not imagine losing my 23 yr old child to suicide.  Its beyond my comprehension. Having Joseph diagnosed with CTE at BU must give you a little bit of comfort though, knowing that he was not capable of making rational decisions.
    I am all with you in waging war on the NFL as they are with holding information from their studies which could prevent these tragedies from occurring .
    With your permission, I would like to be able to send these reports to people including Senators, Congresswoman Sanchez, and others we work with, including posting on our blog and other brain injury blogs we are affiliated with.
    Hang in there and know you have an ally in this fight.

    Short, Choppy Steps

    George Visger

    From: george visger <visgergeorge@gmail.com>
    Date: Friday, September 26, 2014 11:13 AM
    Subject: Fwd: CTE and forwarding my concerns to Linda Sanchez

    From: Debra Pyka

    Yes, you can share the reports, hopefully someone will wake up and hopefully these reports will make more people aware and will help others before it’s too late. Thanks, I talked with Jason and he will call me back in a few days.

    Debra Pyka 

    Debra reached out to me and we exchanged long emails after her 22 yr old son committed suicide and SLI diagnosed him with Stage 3 CTE, despite the fact he never played college or pros or ever diagnosed with a concussion. I forwarded this on to Senators and Congresswoman Sanchez all of whom I’ve met with, and Jason Luckasevic, the lead attorney in our NFL/Riddell Head Injury law suit.

    Where does it end?

    George Visger
    Wildlife Biologist/Traumatic Brain Injury Consultant
    The Visger Group
    5656 Corporate Ave.
    Cypress, CA 90630

    The NFL can now proudly add Jovan Belcher and Joseph Chernach to the long list of football players who committed suicide due to CTE.

    Will it EVER end?

    George Visger

    NFL Suicides 18 in 25 years

    1. Paul Oliver 9/2013 Former San Diego Charger
    2. Jovan Belcher 12/2012 Killed girlfriend drove to Kansas City Chiefs facility and shot self in front of coaches
    3. OJ Murdock 7/2012
    4. Jr Seau 5/12/12 – Shot self in chest to save brain to be studied (2 wks after NFL suicide)
    5. Ray Easterling 4/19/12 – filed concussion case against the NFL in 2011
    6. Kurt Crain 4/2012
    7. Mike Current 1/16/2012
    8. Dave Duerson 2/17/11 – Shot self in chest to save brain to be studied at SLI – had CTE
    9. Kendrick L McKinley 9/20/10
    10. Shane Dronett 1/21/09 – Chased wife w/ gun. Shot self. Brain tested, had CTE
    11. Andre Waters 11/20/06 – Brain tested had CTE (1st brain Nowinski asked for)
    12. Terry Long 6/7/05 – drank antifreeze – brain studied, Drs believed football damaged led to his suicide
    13. Justin Strzelczyk 9/30/04 Drove into tanker at 90 mph during a cop chase
    14. Larry Kelley 6/27/00 (85 yrs old)
    15. Thorton Stonebreaker 3/28/95 CO2 poisening 60 yrs old
    16. Jeff Alm 12/14/93 Shot self at scene of car accident he was driving in where his friend died.
    17. Mike Wise 8/21/92
    18. Larry Bethea 4/24/87

    NON NFL Suicide with CTE
    1. Owen Thomas – 21 yr old at University of Penn.

    • George,

      Appreciate you sharing the above stories…and related insights.

      I coincidently wrote a boxing paper during the late 1980’s for grad school that was published on ERIC…

      Should Individuals Who Possess Only One Brain Be Allowed to Box ? ”

      Switch boxing for football and the core issues remain the same…

      On page 8….Dr No et al (1984) is cited — in this 1984 article the cumulative effect of subconcussive blows is shared…this is obviously well prior to his becoming a member of the NFL mTBI committee.

      also page 5 … Cantu (1982) permanent cell loss… and more susceptible to sustaining another injury…{after suffering a concussion]

      Peace.

  12. George Visger October 8, 2014 / 16:46

    And if your not bored from my last posting, here is a letter Debra Pyka wrote to Judge Anita Brody who is presiding over the NFL/Riddell Head Injury suit.

    October 07, 2014
    Honorable Judge Brody:
    I am writing to you in re: NFL class action lawsuit. I am very concerned with the settlement proposed for the deceased, former and current players of the NFL. I do not believe the settlement is fair and encourage you to keep the lawsuit open for further medical payments for the players who may be affected by past, current and future health issues. I also believe the players who are having health issues now also need the medical care and would benefit from immediate compensation. To this date the NFL has not made the research re: head trauma and concussions public. Until this research is made public this is not fair to the past, present and future players, and all the younger players coming up through the ranks.

    The reason I have an interest in this matter is two years ago I lost my son Joseph Chernach, age 25, to suicide. He was later diagnosed with CTE, stage two to three. My son did not play college or professional sports. He played sports in high school. He started playing football at a young age from Pop Warner through high school. I am furious with the NFL for keeping this research from the public. The NFL sponsors these young kids in Pop Warner through high school. I, and every parent along with the players, have a right to know of the dangers of playing football along with the brain diseases and brain trauma our children could possibly suffer in the future.

    I do not know whether you are married or have children, but I’m sure you can relate to my pain and suffering. Try to imagine what life would be like without your child or spouse. Imagine watching them suffer from a brain disease or head trauma due to the negligence of an organization to fail to release information to prevent the suffering and death of many. Had the research been made public many years ago, these tragedies could have been prevented. I look forward to the day that those who knew of the dangers and let people suffer and die will be banned from the NFL and prosecuted.

    My family is devastated.

    Every day we have to live without Joseph is painful. The day I found my son hanging was the day a part of me died. At times I feel I only exist in this world. I have other children and now am worried what kind of brain damage they will have from playing football. I have never felt so much pain in my life and the pain will be with me forever. I will continue to make my voice heard for those who have and will suffer from these health problems. I hope you will make a fair decision for all.

    Thank You
    Debra Pyka
    W14770 Burton Rd
    Hixton, WI 54635

    • George,

      Again appreciate the posting content.

      CTE is a tragedy…as are other types of sport-related brain injuries.

      These brain injury stories need to be spot-lited and shared with those will listen…and who will also digest the content.

      Given some persons reactions to hearing risks associated with football, including the connection with CTE, I am also reminded of certain lyrics in ” Vincent ” by Don McClean of America Pie fame…these lyrics follow:

      ” They would not listen, they’re not listening still

      Perhaps they never will ”

      and also

      ” They would not listen, they did not know how

      Perhaps they’ll listen now ”

      Peace.

  13. Bopper October 10, 2014 / 13:01

    I don’t know details, but I thought another part of the problem was that the head coach doesn’t wear headphones (like most other head coaches) so it would be hard for remote people to communitcate with him.

  14. Performance Mouthguards in Chicago October 14, 2014 / 08:37

    Wow, this is quite the discussion. He sure should’ve allowed them to at least take a better look. And I don’t know if he was wearing a proper mouthguard or not, but that always plays a role too. Was there demand that he stay in from other players?

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