Matt Chaney: Concussion Testing

Matt Chaney is a former football player and even self-described “juicer” during his time in the game.  He used his first hand experience to write a book about steroids in football “Spiral of Denial: Muscle Doping in American Football“, and now has taken his focus on the concussion issue.  Chaney is what I like to call a “pseudo contributor” to The Concussion Blog, he has helped with finding many articles and topics on this blog.  Behind the scenes Matt is one of the most profound people to spark conversation, and has very “real” views on this issue; not to mention that Chaney is a very good journalist.  (This post is an excerpt preview for a pending analysis on Chaney’s Blog, ‘Brain Trauma Stalks Football Players, Dictates Impact Game Reform,’ which will include independent experts’ recommendations for constructive steps imperative to the sport’s survival at public schools and colleges.)

In his most recent post on his blog concerning concussions, Chaney takes a run at neruopsychological (NP) testing and the issues that he and others, including myself, have had with them.  As I told Matt and still believe; NP testing serves a vital role in the spectrum of concussions such as assessment, management and even some awareness regarding the injury.  The issue that I personally have is one of reliability and the “standard of practice”, each NP test can be done and analyzed differently.  How these tests are used is the biggest issue and Chaney says it in his style;

Current purveyors of the theory, led by Chris Nowinski and Dr. Robert Cantu of the Sports Legacy Institute, and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell—who funds the Nowinski nonprofit with $1 million—propose action reminiscent of the plug-in electric football game, with plastic players bumping across the vibrating surface, hooking at shoulders in ring dances.

And that’s only the beginning of hocus-pocus remedy for rampant head injury in American football.

While mysteries are daunting for the problem, like positive diagnosis of concussion, mere clinical intuition guides the varied protocols of diagnosis and judgment for when players are fit to compete again. No random clinical trial of legitimacy has been attempted.

“It is scary,” said Dr. Lester Mayers, concussion researcher of Pace University athletics, who joins experts like Dr. Bennet Omalu in sounding alarm over football’s touting concussion testing, which is parroted by media.

These critics warn football conducts dangerous “concussion management” based on incomplete research for assessing symptoms, and many brain-injured players are prematurely returning to contact, all ages, typically within days.

Chaney takes clear aim at ImPACT during the article; Continue reading