That’s A Wrap: Week 3

The weekly blog of an athletic trainer covering high school sports, including injury recaps.  This is an insight into the daily life/profession of an athletic trainer.  All incidents are meant for educational purposes and names/teams may be changed in order to protect identification.  That’s A Wrap will post on Tuesday mornings as a recap of the previous week and any upcoming highlights.

This past week was an adventure in the athletic training room and on the sidelines, providing some good stories/information/learning experiences for me to pass along.  It began the last time this series was posted; after Tuesday’s practice a player approaches me and informs me his head is bothering him.  Naturally I asked him when it started – fully expecting him to tell me just last drill – and he told me “yesterday during the game.”  I don’t know if you have seen the clips from Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly during their first game, but that is exactly how I felt.  He had multiple opportunities during the game, after the game, a phone call overnight, in the middle of the school day, before practice, or during practice to let me know about his issues.  Instead he waits until after practice and a full day of school to let me know about his injury.

Wednesday arrived with the injury list continuing to expand Continue reading

That’s A Wrap: Week 2

The weekly blog of an athletic trainer covering high school sports, including injury recaps.  This is an insight into the daily life/profession of an athletic trainer.  All incidents are meant for educational purposes and names/teams may be changed in order to protect identification.  That’s A Wrap will post on Tuesday mornings as a recap of the previous week and any upcoming highlights.

Last Monday, after I had written the previous “That’s A Wrap” I was summoned to the local hospital for an injury of a player at an away game.  Naturally it was something I work on very hard, closed head injuries, a.k.a. concussion.  Apparently he lost consciousness after a hit and was not stable during the on field examination.  He was quickly evacuated to the hospital where I met him and the medics.  What was truly amazing was the rapid response from the staff AND the proper information given to the athlete and family about concussions.  Amazingly, the attending physician recognized me – my constant courses/meetings on concussions – and he conferred with me about the injury.  I would even say it went as far as a consult, which is satisfying to me because as he readily admitted concussions are a clinical diagnosis and after clearing all life threatening injuries it was time to get the right information and management for the patient.

It seemed as though our football team was going to be whittled Continue reading

That’s A Wrap: Week 1

The weekly blog of an athletic trainer covering high school sports, including injury recaps.  This is an insight into the daily life/profession of an athletic trainer.  All incidents are meant for educational purposes and names/teams may be changed in order to protect identification.  That’s A Wrap will post on Tuesday mornings as a recap of the previous week and any upcoming highlights.

Week one of fall high school sports is always greeted with high anticipation.  A majority of time has been spent on preparation for football but there are other sports going on as well: Cross Country, Golf, Girls Tennis and Volleyball.  In the future there will be injuries in those sports but this week was all about football.


The season technically began on August 10th with the opening of camps for all sports, with the weather possibly being a concern with the heat indices near 110 the previous weeks some extra preparation was needed.  I was able to communicate with all the coaches and Continue reading

Nightmare on a Football Field

The most recent concussion I handled was my worst nightmare right before my eyes.  Some of the scariest moments in athletic training are those when kids are returning from an injury.  On the inside, you are scared that they will re-injure, that what you have provided was not enough, that you could have done something more to protect them.  All of that is amplified by about ten-fold with a player returning from a concussion.

This player was one of our first concussions of the season.  He sustained it September 13th and was not allowed to return with MD clearance until September 27th.  He went through the graded return to play.  He passed that, and then passed his ImPACT test with flying colors.  He participated in lower level games and one varsity game prior to last week.  Each game he was debriefed by one of us in the athletic training room.

However, this past Friday he sustained another hard shot to the head.  I saw it, and cringed a bit as he was on the ground, but he popped right back up.  As he began his way to the bench from across the field, he grabbed his head and I knew something was wrong.

I let my student perform the evaluation on him.  He wanted back in the game, saying he was fine.  Although, you could tell that the weeks of drilling him about the symptoms and dangers of concussions were beginning to seep through.  He was more truthful and compliant with us, so I focused my attention to the game on the field, while my student watched over him.  As I was trying to find a ride for him (other than the bus) to get home, I was beckoned by my student.  She reported to me that his condition was deteriorating, as she was telling me this he started to close his eyes and sway badly.

Without thought I bolted across the field, while teams were in the huddle, Continue reading

Friday Night Lights Week 9

After a one week hiatus, it’s back – my personal experience and feelings on concussions.

It’s the last week for football at the high school I cover, as our team will not have enough wins to qualify for the playoffs here in Illinois.  Two games remain (varsity tonight, JV Monday) and I am not ready for it to end.  I have had one of the most fun and fulfilling years on the gridiron both personally and from an athletic trainer’s stand point.

Recapping the past few weeks, we have had four concussions since I last wrote, two in football and two volleyball players.  All of them were different presentations and circumstances, one of which had me scared out of my wits.

The first of the four was last Thursday as a player was tackled late in the second and came off the field complaining of wrist and hand pain.  The significance of this player is that he was the best on the field and the best player the coaches had at that game.  He came off and we took a look at his wrist/hand, slapped on some tape and had him return, which he did.  But after halftime, the coaches reported to us that this player was “not like himself” during the break, and seemed like he was not paying attention.  They thought he may have a head injury, which was news to us, as we only knew of his hand/wrist injury.  As we walked over to the player he has the “gaze,” as though he is looking straight through you, and grabbing his head.  My student performed the standard tests, Rhomberg, Neurocognitive challenges, and he is obviously struggling.  After we determine that he does in fact reek of concussion, we quizzed him on how he got hurt, and he has no clue.  We talked about the hit that caused his wrist/hand to hurt, and he said he did not remember his head getting hit.  All of his memory was there, but we could not for the life of anyone on the sideline, including his father, figure out where his head was impacted.  The conclusion we finally decided on was that he did not sustain a “monumental” blow, Continue reading

Friday Night Lights Week 7

Today has been relatively quiet on the news front regarding concussions.  Which is a good sign, I guess.  It would be good to have more educational pieces out there, and on more mainstream platforms, but I digress.

It is now week seven, and coming off the second victory the football team is playing well, and has another shot tonight.  Last week we had light in-game injuries, but were hit pretty hard after the fact.  By Monday we had 5-6 players out of practice due to some sort of injury.  Hard fought would be an understatement.  The most significant injury we had this week was what I suspected as a subluxed shoulder.

After evaluation and confidence that the shoulder was good enough for him to continue he was back in, didn’t miss an offensive snap.  However he did relay to me Continue reading

Friday Night Lights (Week 6)

Had the morning off today and really was just sittn’ around thinking about things.  One topic that I had with myself was about the concussions I have seen at school.

I told a mother the other day that I did not believe that there were more concussions, just that they are now being reported more frequently.

Then I caught myself typing in the previous post about how I felt there are “more concussions than usual”.

During my 15 minute conversation with myself, while watching some Ryder Cup, I am firmly convinced that there are not more concussions than usual.  Last year at this time I had 4, and the previous year I had 3, this year is 6 at the beginning of October, so it looks like an increase…  BUT, at least two were spotted and reported to us by teammates, and another was one that I was highly suspicious of, due to knowing the personality of the individual.  So in reality we have a steady number as the past, if there was not heightened awareness from all involved.

That brings me to the point of the self conversation…  135,000 ER concussions reported in under 18-year-old individuals, I would venture to guess that there is 10x that total each year…  Which means we are missing roughly 1.2 million concussions, and there are 1.2 million kids struggling with post-concussion syndrome. Continue reading

Friday Night Lights Week 5

Lets just begin by saying we did not have to travel to an emergency department last friday.  That being said there were some lost opportunities for the team to get an underdog victory.  The kids played hard, in a hard-hitting game, so the bumps and bruises were quite substantial.

The main thing on my mind, however, was the concussion from Monday nights game, as I bloged about here.  I was still running the entire thing over and over in my mind, and trying to make things better for all involved.  I probably played out 10 different scenarios in the down time we had during the game, just in case we had a concussion.

We did not, during that game, only a player complaining of Continue reading

Friday Night Lights Week 4

It looked as though many of you enjoyed my ramblings about Friday nights here in Cornville.  So why not do it again.

Last week the team took one on the chin 40-0, although it was 14-0 for all but 2:30 to go in the first half.  Both my student and I were enjoying a relatively calm evening on the injury front, just some minor blood issues.  That was until late in the 3rd when we had a lower extremity injury occur.

It looked innocuous at the time, sluggish getting up off the deck and limping a bit, but he continued on for a series or two (tough to remember).  Finally he was extremely hampered by the injury and was summoned to the sideline for evaluation. Continue reading

Friday Night Lights

Dallas Cowboys kicking off.
Image via Wikipedia

Its another Friday night in the late summer, which means one thing in Central Illinois, FOOTBALL! Something about the  pageantry and passion of small towns and big towns alike.  It begins early in the day when the kids arrive at school either adorned in their jersey, or their boyfriend’s jersey, or their team colors.  Plans are being made about when and where to meet up to eat, some of the more die-hard will fire up the grill and tailgate, home and away.  When the kids finally get through a “useless” day of school, ITS ON. 

Coaches head to the classroom for the final prep before kickoff.  Players are eating and watching a video/film or getting into a zone via the iPod.  Parents are getting work and chores tackled so they can come and cheer on their loved ones and the team.

What are we, the athletic trainers, doing?  Worrying.  Planning.  Preparing.  For the unexpected!  In football you can expect a lot of things, maybe not the outcome, but for the most part the game plan and expectations are in place.  In athletic training you never know what you will see or do.  The ol’ saying “prepare for the worst and hope for the best” is exactly what game day is like for athletic training.

Continue reading