Next Level… In Concussion Care

As an athletic trainer – an opinionated one at that – I struggle with all the “bells-and-whistles” in this conundrum that is the concussion issue.  If you have visited here or heard me speak you undoubtedly know that mismanagement of concussions is the true issue of this complex paradigm.  Yes, we need to know when a concussion occurs to begin the process in the right direction; however, this can be accomplished by simply making sure you have a trained medical professional on hand when the need arises.  Getting an athletic trainer to cover the most at risk sports at the most at risk times is a great start (and in the authors opinion is the only choice if you want to have collision sports).  Short of that, education over-education is necessary for everyone: players, coaches, parents, officials, teacher etc. to properly identify and accept the nature of concussion in sport – it is a risk.

Even having an allied medical professional, like an athletic trainer (AT) at practices and games does not stop the injury from occurring.  In fact, many products that may claim reduction in concussions or “possible concussions” are toying with fraud; at the very least they are practicing deceptive marketing.  The point being, once we identify a concussion how do we and who do we send the injury to, to avoid the rest of the iceberg lurking under the surface of the water?  Moreover, what tools do we have that can help get the right prognosis, treatment and recovery for the injured (and there are many out there)?

I feel there is a new product (I am not a paid endorser, nor have I been given compensation for this article/opinion) now hitting the market that may get us closer to the panacea that we are all hoping for (note I said “closer”).  Although it may have been presented as some big secret; the C3 Logix: Comprehensive Concussion Care system is not a secret rather it is something I feel is a “game changer” for concussion care.  It is Continue reading

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Concussion Awareness/Testing and US Youth Soccer

On February 7th an agreement between a neurocognitive testing company and US Youth Soccer was made.  Not only was this a partnership for the use of the tool, but it also provides some of the best, in my opinion; concussion education, awareness and management tools out there.

Soccer has been a rather underrepresented sport when it comes to the concussion issue, perhaps because it does not garner the spotlight in today’s sports media, like that of football.  However, soccer has its fair share of brain injuries, one reason is the use of the head in the sport is encouraged.  Because of this it exposes players to more risk, even if heading the ball is controlled, what happens in the air leading to that can be more apropos to creating the sudden traumatic event causing a concussion.

Below is the full press release;

US Youth Soccer and Axon Sports bring Affordable Concussion Management to Leagues, Teams, and Clubs

Web-based tool helps medical providers manage concussions; facilitate the safe return of players to the field

FRISCO, Texas (February 7, 2012) – US Youth Soccer, the nation’s largest youth sports organization, today announces Axon Sports as a long-term strategic partner for computerized baseline testing for concussion management, leading the way in making soccer safer for kids at the grassroots level.  Through the relationship, US Youth Soccer will provide member discounts and educational resources on USYouthSoccer.org.  It will also provide more than 25,000 US Youth Soccer players free access to the Axon Sports Computerized Cognitive Assessment Tool (CCAT).      Continue reading

Footy Concussion Report Round 16

The Concussion Blog is now tracking the concussions of another collision sport, one with very good media coverage, albeit not in North America.  Aussie Rules Football and its professional league AFL have had an issue with concussion in the past and as we have seen on videos here, they can be scary.  With the help of Sportal we will be compiling the concussions on a weekly basis.

We have not forgotten about Aussie Rules Football, merely watching and compiling from afar.  There have been some very good contests the past 4 weeks, since our last update, but with that has come a slight increase in concussions.  If you have been following the updates for the Footy Concussions you will know that I have tried to reach out to; The AFL, some of the teams, various media in Australia and even the medical community of Australia.  All of those requests have gone unresponded to giving me pause about what actually the culture is like regarding concussions Down Under.

Currently we have found 30 concussions listed for Australia’s most popular sport, and that makes the rate of concussions 2 per round.  Below is the actual compiled list; Continue reading

Ahead of the Game

Axon Sports has worked hard to create a resource for those looking to implement concussion management.  Not unlike Xenith helmets and “The Enlightened Warrior”, Axon has put information out to help with education and awareness.  The title page says;

Welcome to Ahead of the Game – your Axon Sports Concussion Management toolkit. This practical online resource offers cutting-edge tools, best practices, and other items to improve the effectiveness of your concussion management program design, delivery, and discussions.

If you’re involved with a School, League, Team or Club, these tools can help you get your program up and running faster and smoother.

One in 10 young Athletes will suffer a concussion this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The actual number is likely much higher as concussions continue to go unrecognized and underreported. We also know that 80 percent of Athletes will fully recover when their concussion is recognized and managed early. What we don’t know is — who are the other 20 percent?

This information is available for a limited time for non-account holders at THIS LINK.  Another company that is trying to help the cause of erasing the stigma of head injuries, and making more aware of the concussion issue.

Axon Sports

Axon Sports is a recently launched company, formed to help address the growing need for athlete concussion testing in North America.  They are a joint venture company backed by CogState that provides a cutting edge Computerized Cognitive Assessment Tool (Axon Sports CCAT).  By using this online tool, Athletes can establish Baselines or “snapshots” of their brains’ speed and accuracy using the CCAT’s four simple tasks.  This is very similar to other NP testing, like Concussion Vital Signs and ImPACT but another option, this test seems to be the shortest in nature, taking an average of 15 minutes.

I asked Axon (like CVS) to provide a quote for their product as it compares to other NP tests;

In comparison to some of the other options available, I think you will find the Axon Sports CCAT is easy to understand, convenient to take, scientifically valid, welcoming, and has live support available seven days a week.  Importantly, its availability online means Athletes are free to test in their own homes, at their Doctor’s office, or in a school setting.  This provides increased flexibility for all those engaged in the care of the Athlete. Parents can purchase individual tests for $7.50; schools, clinics, and sports organizations have access to volume discounts.

It is nice to see a competitive market out there for NP testing.  And as we have seen with a recent article by Matt Chaney, there are some issues related to the validity of serial testing.  Axon has cited some of these articles when addressing it validity and significance as a NP test, Axon Sports CCAT CMO Validity Letter.

Here is a screen shot of the report page, Axon Sports Baseline Test Result Advanced

Each test has its benefits, whether it be cost, user interface, reliability, or general function; not unlike helmets in football, each product has a place.  The more competition means more development and eventually an end result of an “agreed upon” testing procedure and test.