Concussion Article Links – MUST READ

Since the tragic and untimely death of Junior Seau the concussion issue has begun to fester like a three-day old pimple on a 13 year-old’s greasy face.  It is ready to pop and keeping up with all of the pertinent articles and “specials” has been very trying.  In this post I will attempt to link up and highlight as many as I can (surely I will miss many, however Concerned Mom in the comment section will have more).

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Lets begin with ESPN and the Outside the Lines week-long look at concussions.  I have found this to be must see, my DVR is a testament to this; using previous stories and bringing in commentators on the subject have provided information and even fireworks.  Yesterday Merril Hoge and Matt Chaney did just that – provide information and create fireworks.  You can find the podcast here (panelists begin about 7:30 mark).

Hoge drew my ire earlier this week with his admonishing of Kurt Warner’s statement of being a father, however yesterday he did have a very valid point about the management of concussions.  I have said is ad nausea here: the elephant in the room is the management of concussions, however Hoge sounded a bit “underconcerned” about the actual injury.  Which is where Chaney had very valid points about the exposure of concussions to the youth.  They are both right in my estimation; the management is the larger issue but we are seeing too many too young people being effected by concussions.  There needs to be work in both areas and remember this is not just a football issue.

We have the duty to protect our kids and if that means flag football for 5-13 year-olds then I am cool with that.  If we find after making such a drastic change that has not been enough then we can take it further if needed.  I feel that a change like this will allow a few things: 1) more time to let the brain develop and thus allowing research to catch up to what we know.  2) employ more medical providers in a position to find, assess and manage concussions (see athletic trainers). And 3) begin a culture shift about the seriousness of concussions, after all this is a brain injury.

As Chaney later told me; Continue reading

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Validity of Neurocognitive Tests

Matt Chaney has blogged about it many times, we have posted about it, now it is beginning to find its way into the mainstream media; validity of the neurocognitive tests more specifically ImPACT.  Dr. Chris Randolph of the Loyola University Health System has become one of the “loudest” when it comes to this issue, the main concern being the false-positives.  This is when the testing indicates that the affected athlete is “OK” but is still having post concussive effects.  From USAToday and Robert Preidt;

Randolph analyzed the scientific literature and could not find a prospective, controlled study of the current version of the most common baseline concussion test, called ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing). Athletes take the 20-minute test on a computer. Continue reading

USA Today Huddle

Appearing in the USA Today ‘The Huddle’ written by Steve Coogan was an article directed toward concussions in the NFL.  Famed sports agent Leigh Steinberg has begun writing an column for a paper in LA Times rotation.  The very first article points out the concussion issue using Troy Aikman as the center point.  Here is an excerpt via the USA Today article;

“Where am I?” he asked. “Did I play today? How well did I play? Did we win? Are we going to the Super Bowl?”

I answered the questions and his face brightened. Five minutes later, he looked at me in confusion and asked the same questions again and I answered before he smiled.

But five minutes later he asked the same questions once again as if we had never talked. I became terrified at the toll a concussion took on the tender thread separating sentient consciousness from dementia.

What makes this interesting is that Steinberg is willing to discuss the head injuries of Aikman, yet Aikman is extremely hesitant Continue reading

NHL GM’s To Meet

Boca Raton, Florida will be the site for the “Spring” meetings of the National Hockey League’s General Managers as they discuss League issues.  I bet you cannot think of what might be the hottest topic.  Last March the GM’s came up with Rule 48; penalizing players for blind side hits to the head.  As USA Today and Kevin Allen note those types of hits are down, but the concussions are up;

“The concussions resulting from hits to the head, whether you categorize them as legal or illegal, are actually down this year,” said Bill Daly, the NHL’s deputy commissioner. “For whatever reason, we are getting more concussions, either from accidental contacts or secondary contacts, by a player hitting his head on the ice, after being hit legally body to body or hitting his head against the boards.”

Concussions were going to be on the docket this week, however there seems to be more urgency since the Chara/Pacioretty incident in Montreal last week.  The hit was ruled “part of the game” and as one of our writers, Nick Mercer put it, those hits are exactly the ones causing the concussions across the league.

What the GM’s need to understand is that there is a myriad of events occurring that are causing the numbers to rise.  Continue reading

USA Today Article

Kelly Whiteside, writing for the USA Today, put together a great article discussing what we believe is the most important aspect of concussion recovery – return to school and academia.

Brianna is a typical high school athlete, not a future college star, just a kid whose life revolves around the sport of the season. Her story has become all too familiar. She was medically cleared to return to sports too soon and continued to take a full course load at school. The mental demands of the classroom slowed her recovery as well. Addressing the roomful of her peers on this November evening, Brianna describes what life has been like since suffering her first concussion in February when she took a knee to the head during a basketball game.

“It’s been nine months, and I still have headaches every single day I wake up. I don’t want to go to school. I barely get out of bed. My mom is constantly trying to get me up, and I just don’t want to get up. I’m late for school, which is no fun. I get really dizzy when I get up from a chair, and I am also tired all the time. I sleep for 16 hours, and I’m still exhausted.”

What is also typical of Brianna is that those that have been concussed across the nation are experiencing the same thing she is, but Continue reading

Military Under New Orders

Military doctors are diagnosing hundreds of concussions among combat troops because of an unprecedented order requiring them to leave the battlefield for 24 hours after being exposed to a blast.

Writes Gregg Zoroya of USAToday:

From July through September, more than 1,000 soldiers, Marines and other U.S. servicemembers were identified with concussions, more than twice the number diagnosed during the previous four months, Central Command says.

This has been a complete turn around from how the military was doing things even in June of this year.  The new guideline went into effect July under the direction of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Michael Mullen.

Under the new policy, troops caught within 165 feet of a blast (about half the length of a football field) must be pulled from the battlefield for at least 24 hours and examined for evidence of a concussion. The same goes for troops in a vehicle or building struck by a bomb.

Read the entire Article HERE

And the accompanying piece by Mr. Zoroya, about the recovery from head injury.