NFL Concussion Crew

The change for the NFL in searching for and making sure all players with concussion symptoms get checked out will make its debut this weekend.  The addition of non-team paid (NFL) athletic trainers will help with game observation.  The wide angle and TV in the booth should alleviate some of the issues of being preoccupied or blocked from the action.

The concussion observing athletic trainer will not have the authority to actually pull the players nor make any recommendations regarding evaluation.  Rather they will be in communication with both teams to insure that Player X has been checked out.  This process would be similar to the Head Impact Telemetry System (HITS) being employed on college and high school fields.  Instead of using a pager to notify the athletic trainer of an exceedingly high impact, the “independent” athletic trainer will call down to the sidelines.

Yesterday on the Baribeau & Scarbo Show I discussed how it may in fact go down.  I was and still Continue reading

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Prolonged Recovery Indicator?

As an athletic trainer one of the most difficult tasks is convincing the athlete, parent, and coaches that their son or daughter is hurt.  With a concussion everything “looks normal” most times (except for the cases of overt signs).  Even with the signs that present most resolve rather quickly and again those affected by the head injury think everything is OK; it’s not like a bone is broken or there is imaging to SHOW an injury/problem.

For a long time researchers have been trying to identify what sign or symptom relates to prolonged recovery.  Early on, 80’s and 90’s, the thought was loss of consciousness was the indicator; later to be not the case, and the understanding that one does not have to be KO’ed to get a concussion.  Within the community we have used the term feeling “foggy” as a high indicator of prolonged recovery, but that is a very subjective symptom and really unproven, more observational.  This might be changing as a very INITIAL study was released by Dr. Brian Lau of the UPMC in the American Journal of Sports Medicine. Continue reading

Memory Loss and Switiching Dominant Hands

That is what happened to 14 year-old Mikayla Wilson of Washington state, after she sustained a concussion playing basketball.  ABC.com has a story and video on this HERE.

“She didn’t black out, she didn’t grab her head in obvious injury,” Wilson’s dad, Michael, told ABC News affiliate KXLY 4. “She just got up and noticed her head hurt a little bit on the back. But basketball these days is a very physical game, and there’s lots of contact.”

And one does not have to have ‘obvious symptoms’ in order for the brain to be dysfunctional.  Although rare, it can happen.

After a fouled Wilson shot her free throws, she played two more quarters for the Liberty High Lancers. It wasn’t until the team gathered after the game when Wilson asked her mom, Lorie, “Who are those girls dressed just like I am and why are they looking at me?” that anyone noticed anything wrong.

One of the most scary signs of concussion is the loss of memory, I have had kids and adults tell me that Continue reading