INDYCAR Followup

After the stories about Simona de Silvestro and Will Power, I was inundated with email regarding the actual protocol for the racing series and concussions.  I was able to reach out to get some answers from a source within INDYCAR that wishes not to be identified as they are not part of the medial “team”,

“All drivers take the ImPACT at the start of the season to establish baseline.  It is required the ImPACT as well as evaluation by our medical director for clearance to drive after a driver has been diagnosed with a concussion.”

However there is NO mention of mandatory rest, just eluding to passing a NP test, that we have documented as having reliability issues.  There is not even mention of symptoms, rather a medical evaluation and TAKING the test (I would be dumbfounded if they didn’t have to “pass” the test).  I am not a professional driver but I would be very weary of other drivers that may in fact be having concussion symptoms hurling down the track at 200MPH.

I would suggest that the series take a much more proactive stance with this injury, not only for the safety of the injured driver but the others on the track.

This comment was so good that I thought I would re-post it here… Continue reading

IHSA Clarifies Concussion Mechanism

The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) and its Board of Directors approved the new recommendation for return to play for athletes (high school only mind you).  Currently Illinois does not have legislation in place for concussions, but when the current HB200 gets mixed with SB150 the legislation will give the authority for policies to the IHSA.  In lieu of not having legislation the IHSA has taken the NFHS rule a bit further in determining when a “concussed” player can return to practice or activity, period;

The new Policy reads: “In cases when an athlete is not cleared to return to play the same day as he/she is removed from a contest following a possible head injury (i.e., concussion), the athlete shall not return to play or practice until the athlete is evaluated by and receives written clearance from a licensed health care provider to return to play.  

For the purposes of this policy, licensed health care providers consist of physicians licensed to practice medicine in all its branches in Illinois and certified athletic trainers working in conjunction with physicians licensed to practice medicine in all its branches in Illinois.”

A proactive step by the IHSA that should be applauded, and also a step in the right direction in defining who exactly can clear an athlete; MD/DO or ATC ONLY.  There are other “doctors” that would be competent in dealing with concussions (see neuropsychologists) and perhaps in the future the IHSA will expand the licensed health care providers to include them.  This clarifies a lot of questions that many, including myself had in this state.

Parents In Action

Gil and Michelle Trenum of Prince William County, Virginia have taken what was the most horrible day in their life and are doing something about it.  After Michelle so genuinely shared her story about her son, Austin — here exclusively with The Concussion Blog — her and her husband refused to believe something could not be done about it.  The Trenum’s have put forth a tremendous effort in connecting with some very “stout” individuals in the concussion research and management area.  It was not to find out why this happened so much, as it has been an effort to not let this happen again, to any parent or any kid.

Joe Conroy of reported on a recent school board meeting, where Gil Trenum is a board representative, at this meeting was Dr. Gereld Gioia, cheif of the Division of Pediatric Neurosugery at Children’s Medical Center in Washington D.C.;

“A lot of people are asking ‘Why now? What’s so special about these times?’” said Gioia, who was invited by Brentsville District School BoardrepresentativeGil Trenum. “We have a perfect storm coming together in the sense that we better understand the brain, we have the resources at our disposal now that we can be informed about this injury, concussions, which are really a type of mild traumatic brain injury.

“There aren’t more concussions than years ago, but we have more knowledge about them and their symptoms,” Gioia said.

In the article is the issue that I have been trying to make more and more of, removal from school and cognitive activities.  However, this time it is Dr. Gioia explaining Continue reading

Better concussion policy: NFL, NHL or MTV?

When MTV takes more decisive action than the NFL or NHL, perhaps it’s time to look at who makes the final decision in pro sports. ‘Pro’ being the operative word.

MTV’s The Challenge isn’t technically a sport. Unless you hear ESPN’s Bill Simmons and Dave Jacoby talk about it. They’re probably on to something – it should be the fifth main sport. If you haven’t seen the show (it’s not in-season, but it is here), this season – The Challenge: Cutthroat – provided a good example of why everyone should pay attention to concussions. Seriously. MTV.

It’s not like Jersey Shore (but there is drunk fighting and debauchery), it’s more like Survivor meets a gym (30 contestants, 9 challenges). Unlike the quirky challenges in which ‘castaways’ compete, the competitions in The Challenge are extremely physical. Case in point was a team challenge this season in which the contestants had to dive/jump from a moving platform into a pond and then swim a circuit. Chet, a member of the red team, landed awkwardly on the water, and once on the shore he was attended to by paramedics, brought to hospital, diagnosed with a concussion and told he wasn’t allowed to compete anymore.

What made Chet’s removal an easy decision for MTV was at least partly because Chet wasn’t a professional MTV contestant. His career was not The Challenge (at least, I hope not). Whatever his eventual career choice Continue reading