OTL Extra: The Discussion About Girls Tackle Football

ICYMI, on Wednesday Outside the Lines had a feature on the girls football league and the larger issue of concussions in football. The aired show was very good and good discussion was had by all that included Doug Casa, Jane McManus and one time TCB contributor Matt Chaney.

Below is the video of the OTL Extra (third video) of this episode and worth your 12 minutes of time…  Would love to hear some discussion on this…

Not Funding Athletic Trainers = Bad Idea

If you have athletic trainers in place then you suddenly remove them it can create a disastrous situation for the school or district. Why? It is rather simple, the coaches, parents, kids and admins of the schools have become accustom to the nationally recognized allied health care provider being around for injury consultation, evaluations, and prevention measures including helping with conditioning. Not only that in the hot months of early football the athletic trainer is the neutral guardian against heat emergencies like heat stroke. The athletic trainer at high schools, especially those with collision sports, are necessary; not only for concussion but for all other injuries mainly the catastrophic type that occur everywhere on any given day. In essence the athletic trainer is akin to a lifeguard at a community pool.

Would you send your kids to a pool without a lifeguard?

By removing what has been used for some time, ALL of the burden will fall upon the school districts and coaches, certainly a liability that is not needed in this day and age.

This is happening – in an area that WAS ahead of the curve when it came to athletic trainers and high schools – Winston-Salem and Forsyth counties in North Carolina.

The certified athletic trainers assist coaches and players year-round at practice and games in evaluating injuries and working with their rehabilitation.

Considering that 4,231 high school students played in at least one sport in the 2011-12 academic year in Forsyth County schools, the program covered 27 percent of all students enrolled, according to school system data.

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Concussion Recognition & Response App is what it is called, however what it can do can be very helpful for those looking to help an athlete in need after a possible head injury.  With any medical app’s for smart phones it DOES NOT replace a clinical evaluation by a medical professional.  That being said any “layman” using this technology will easily be able to discern if the current injury need to go to an ER or sit out until evaluated by proper medical personnel.

The app was designed and constantly evaluated by a whole team of researchers and physicians, the two of note are Jason Mihalik, PhD and Gerad Gioia, MD.  The intended purpose of the app is to help those less informed, without proper health care available (see athletic trainer/MD) identify if a person is exhibiting signs and Continue reading

NC Concussion Awareness Act

The Governor of North Carolina is expected to sign the Gfeller-Waller Concussion Awareness Act into law today.  Posted today in the News Observer online edition is the quick recap;

The act applies to public high schools and middle schools and requires them to provide education on concussion awareness to student athletes, parents, coaches, volunteers and first responders; requires players who exhibit signs of a concussion to be removed from play or practice and not return until being cleared by a medical professional; and requires schools to develop an emergency plan to deal with serious injuries.

The bill is named after two high school athletes who died as a result of concussions.

Matthew Gfeller was a sophomore at Winston-Salem Reynolds, and Jaquan Waller was a junior at Greenville Rose. They died as a result of concussions received while playing football.

This brings the total (that we have compiled) to 20 states with enacted legislation.  If you know of more please send it to us!

Edit: Matthew Gfeller Center Hosting Symposium

The National Sports Concussion Cooperative (NSCC) that was launched in March is meeting up as the Matthew Gfeller Cetner is hosting a symposium this upcoming weekend.  The NSCC is championed by;

These four entities have come together for the goal of reducing the incidence of sports-related concussions with the formation of a cooperative to bring interdisciplinary collaboration to concussion research and testing.

The National Sports Concussion Cooperative will hold its founding organizational meeting in Chapel Hill, North Carolina on May 2, 2011, to develop an agenda by which it will identify the most pressing concussion objectives in sports and set a course for assessing their significance through research and peer review. After the meeting, additional partners will be engaged to consider joining the collaborative effort and finalize the objectives for each stakeholder group.

The event this weekend, April 29 and 30, titled “Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related Neurotrauma Symposium”, will bring together “experts” within the field of research, clinical and equipment manufacturing to share their thoughts on the concussion issue.  The chair for the symposium is Jason Mihalik, Ph.D., any media requests for him should be directed to Patric Lane, (919) 962-8596, patric_lane@unc.edu.

The full press release is as follows; Continue reading

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