Knowing Is Half The (UPDATE)

UPDATE: Thanks to commenter @SpMedConcepts I should write that one test is just a piece to the puzzle.  And a comprehensive testing procedure that includes all of the available “baselines” and assessments should be used.  It becomes more difficult to cloud the picture with deception when using this approach.

Knowing about concussions is one thing, but knowing that players may take advantage of the system is another factor.  Like anything else in this world people will look to exploit weaknesses in systems to gain an advantage.  After all isn’t that the crux of competition and sports?  We have seen Irv Muchnick open up the dialogue on Ritalin as a possible way to “cheat the system” and now Alex Marvez of Fox Sports tells us the other, more obvious way to “cheat the system”;

Dr. Daniel Amen, who has treated current and former players for post-concussion symptoms, said some of his clients have confessed to fudging the initial baseline tests administered by NFL teams. By doing so, Amen said those players are seeking quicker clearance to return from any future head injuries they might suffer.

If the baseline tests are to be used to compare then why try hard and excel at them, only to have that first test hinder their return?  This is the common question that the professional and adolescent athletes are dealing with.  Even though baseline tests, be it neurocognitive computer based or hand written like the SCAT2 or the new NFL test, are objective Continue reading

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The Sad End of Brad Evans

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A promising young athlete struck down in the prime of his life, at his own hands.  Brad Evans of Hobbton High School in North Carolina ended his life with a gunshot.  A seemingly “put together” young man who had no indication of depression or impulse control issues suddenly and without explanation felt compelled to end it.  Brad was going to go to college to play baseball and possibly strive for his ultimate goal of the Major Leagues.

This was to happen after his senior season, including on the gridiron, where all the problems may have begun.  It is very important to say that there is and most likely will not be a link, but Brad suffered three concussion in a month’s time.  He  returned prematurely, and did not get a doctor’s clearance to participate.  His final concussion occurred on October 8th and required a helicopter transport to a regional medical center.

The time line and a very good narrative of what happened to this young man are at the FayObserver.com, written by Greg Barnes.

No one will ever know whether Brad suffered from CTE, or whether the repeated blows to his head altered his thinking and led him to take his own life.

Suicide remains one of the most common causes of death among teenagers.

But a mounting body of evidence – reinforced by the unlikely deaths of three promising young athletes since April – suggests that at least some of those suicides could be linked to repeated hits to the head.