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

The Experts Tell Us Why Athletic Trainers Are Needed

You don’t have to take my word for it here, you can watch this video and let the experts in the field tell you;

Although we are not there yet, there are financial barriers, and some misnomers about the profession; athletic trainers should be a must.

As I have clearly stated: “If you cannot afford an athletic trainer you cannot afford to have collision sports, period.”

Hey here is a bonus, athletic trainers are also some of the best at on the field orthopedic injury assessment and injury prevention in the WORLD.  Doctors even defer to the knowledge of an athletic trainer when it comes to sports injuries.

They Get It, But Don’t Get It

Having an athletic trainer at the high school, especially a school that has collision sports, is not only handy it is a down right necessity – for various reasons.  The most poignant being emergency care of injured athletes; it goes deeper than that.

Athletic Trainers are not only trained for medical emergencies but we are all trained for the routine and “normal” injuries that occur on the playing field/court.  Each day in my training room I see 4-5 new faces with new ailments that need tended to; this would be the coaches problems if I weren’t there.  Or, in some cases these “normal/routine” injuries are off to doctors offices – often general practitioners that see more illness than injury – for a time and money cost for the family.

I could write a 4,000 word post on the need for athletic trainers at high schools, but I feel most of you understand, and for the most part the schools understand.  I am not talking about the athletic trainer that comes to a school once a week to see injuries (the lowest level of coverage and inadequate in my opinion), I am speaking about the need for the everyday athletic trainer.  In the case of “they get it, but don’t get it” I give you the Washoe County school system in Nevada (BTW, they are not the only ones, but a good example); Continue reading

THE Leaders in Concussion Management

In many services and industries, the perceived leaders are the ones that can give the most resolute answers and proper actions.  Among perceived leaders there are some that have such a high profile, even though they do not have the education or experience, they can move mountains with their words.

With the concussion issue gaining attention, mainly through the NFL, one would perceive they are, or should be, a leader in this area, and they are.  Not only has the League and Commissioner Goodell said the right things, but they have evaluated their past and made steadfast changes in the right direction.

“We are changing the culture of the NFL with regards to concussions and, as a result, we are changing the culture of all athletics at all levels,” said Goodell. ” … We know that we set the standards in sports, and we accept that responsibility that comes with that. When we change our approach, other take notice and follow.”

However, with most things being the high-profile person will only get you so far unless you have the backing and partnership of a quality “right hand man.”

At the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) Youth Sports Safety Summit this past week, the NFL made it official that they will be partnering with the NATA to help create and pass legislation for all states about concussions and their management. (USAToday Story)

Not that athletic trainer’s are superior to doctors in the concussion area, but the athletic trainers are most likely to see a concussion in sports FIRST.  The educational background of an athletic trainer is more than qualified for holding up any state/federal law protecting the youth.  Having a plan is great, but the “boots on the ground” must be both capable and in support of such plans, and we as athletic trainers are.

Male vs. Female

On Tuesday the National Athletic Trainers’ Association held the Youth Sports Safety Summit in Washington, DC and an important research project was released examining the differences in symptoms being reported by male and female athletes.

The paper will be published in the January edition of Journal of Athletic Training but here are the highlights and take home message.  (By the way the author was R. Dawn Comstock of Ohio State University).

  • 2 year study
  • 800+ subjects
  • 9 different sports
  • Most frequent symptoms of headache/nausea in both male/female
  • Males more often reported fogginess, slowed down, amnesia and disorientation
  • Females more often reported sleep disturbances, balance issues, drowsiness and sensitivity (lights and sounds)

It is important to make sure the symptoms that females show more often are not overlooked or associated to other issues.  Gender-based differences is an issue that has not been researched fully, but this is a good beginning.  The more we can understand how the brains are reacting to the concussion, the better we can be at identifying it.

Seeing what conclusion Comstock has with this information will be interesting.