Last June, I had the pleasure of speaking at a press conference at Lincoln Financial Field in support of Pennsylvania State Representative Tim Briggs’ proposed concussion management legislation. I was an eighteen-year old who had been researching concussions in sports for nearly ten months at that point—a task that I engaged in to further educate myself and others on the subject at hand; a project that would essentially close many doors in my past that had been left open for too long. But as I situated myself beside the podium at this press conference, I had no idea what kind of story the young woman sitting to my left had to say. Of course, throughout my research, I understood that others have been through worse—much worse—than what I had experienced, but never did I think I would meet someone I could relate to. It was even more than just relating to, for this individual shared a heartbreaking story to the public. She was at the press conference for the same reason as myself, and that was to promote the need for concussion legislation in our state, but she did more than that. Her words were more than the cover to a bill. Her words were the voice of the sports concussion crisis.
Today, Tracy Yatsko, a twenty-three-year old woman from Tamaqua, Pennsylvania, is still fighting the repercussions of an injury that ended her high school athletic career. Six years removed from the moment of her last concussion, Yatsko represents the qualities of strength and motivation, for her battle has not been one that has been easy. Sure, I have heard of stories in which athletes have sustained decisively fatal blows to the head. But when I talk to this woman, and when I think about her story, the only words that I can describe how I have perceived her story is hell on earth. Why did this situation in which Yatsko found herself within come to be?
2005 was a year, with regards to concussion awareness, that was still present in the sports’ ‘Era of Good Feelings.’ There was not much to worry about, and though there were stories creeping out of the media regarding concussions in football, there was not much of a worry in other athletic activities. There really wasn’t much consideration as to what a concussion was. It was merely an injury that was ignorantly summarized as a headache; a distraction; a joke. And with such stigma comes tides of the familiar phrase that claims pain to be weakness leaving the body. Only did we, or rather, do we, come to open our eyes to what a concussion is until the moment of a tragedy personally affects ourselves or those who we consider to be close to us. Continue reading
It is an idea that can catch on, real quick, it has the basic tenet of education/awareness at its core, with the right promotion and teaching/tools I am in agreement this will do some good. The plan is to have a national concussion awareness month, September, and along with that have a tour across the United States. Instead of me trying to explain it, here is a promotional video, geared to finding sponsors for this event;
I do not endorse the Shockwave System, I am only endorsing the idea of an awareness tour…. Heck I don’t even know about baseline and/or neurcognitive testing… However the idea to inform everyone is sound…
As I began the blog there were plenty of people who told us that what we were doing was “nice” but it will have little effect on the concussion issue. The easiest and actual response was “so what?” I honestly did not care if people didn’t take the information we wanted to present seriously; I KNEW that someone would.
The original concept was to gather stories and information from as many sources I could find on the limited time I have to devote to the blog. Fortunately we were able to add contributors that have helped in this endeavor (looking at you Noodle), as well as Parent Advocates and the occasional “anonymous poster”.
We believe the information is valid and “blog-worthy” in order to make people aware of the ever-changing issue of concussions. As viewers and commentors have increased over time we believe that we are on the right path.
A lot of the emails and comments I receive in confidence take umbrage with the “attacks” on the NFL and major sports. I can see that angle and appreciate the candor, however it is those entities that we will gain the most profound guidance Continue reading
The concussion news cycle seems to have slowed a bit over the past week. Sure there has been plenty of newsworthy events, including cases of kids getting hurt, but the amount of news seen in the searches has dropped quite a bit recently. I must say that over the past few weeks I have seen more and more “mainstream” outlets picking up on the awareness issue. One such case is NPR and a story about products that have been popping up. The title is a bit misleading as mouthguards are not discussed, it does take a look at the Battle Sports Science Impact Indicator;
Battle Sports Science CEO Chris Circo says his product does measure rotational movement as well as direct head impacts. Circo, who’s had five concussions and takes anti-seizure medication, says he knows how complex brain injuries are. In an interview, he is more circumspect than his trumpet-like email to the media.
“Does the Impact Indicator prevent concussions? Absolutely not,” Circo says. “Does it diagnose concussions? Absolutely not.”
But, as advertised, it does help, says Circo. And despite Halstead’s fear, Circo insists Continue reading