HBO’s Real Sports Features Concussion Crisis in Youth Football Players

Over the past three years, 17 high school football players have died after sustaining head injuries while playing. A similar situation in the NFL would have caused a national uproar, so how has this been allowed to happen to our youth?

Take a look at trailer for this riveting episode of HBO’s series Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, which is airing several times on HBO through mid-December 2016, as well as On Demand. The episode as a whole explores why there are such inconsistencies in protecting professional athletes versus the youngest players.

Be Cautious of New Products or Research That Promise to Prevent or Heal Concussions

by Tony Doran, Psy.D.
HeadFirst Concussion Care Program Director

Periodically when I’m seeing patients in our HeadFirst concussion clinics, parents will ask me about a different brain trauma-related studies that they’ve heard about. These questions range from studies about concussion-healing chocolate milk to eye tracking devices to the effectiveness of helmets and different sports bands preventing head injuries. Presently, NO concussion treatments have been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Likewise, the FDA has yet to approve of any devices that prevent concussions in the first place. No helmets, no mouth guards, no sports band or other piece of technology in any way shape or form has been demonstrated to completely prevent concussions.

I typically advise parents to be extremely cautious with new research or technology, or with the promises of concussion treatment. Instead, parents should seek out a concussion specialist who has years of experience treating these injuries and utilizes multiple methods in their assessment, diagnosis, and treatment planning.

Refreshing Delicious Chocolate Milk

Can chocolate milk heal concussions? Don’t count on it.

Spring Injury Prevention Tips

by Daniel Pokrifka, ATC/L
HeadFirst Concussion Care Program Administrator

Basic physics teaches us that an object at rest will always remain at rest unless acted on by an unbalanced force. Likewise, an object in motion will continue in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. We humans are objects that seem to always be always in motion, so it stands to reason that we’re continually acted upon by external forces that change our direction. Unfortunately, the direction that these forces sometimes push us coincides with another of Newton’s Laws: Gravity.

ImageSlips and falls are one of the top causes of unintentional injuries in the United States, accounting for approximately 8.9 million visits to the emergency department annually (National Safety Council Injury Facts 2011). When we fall, it always seems like we fall head first. Falling out of bed, slipping in the bath, falling down steps, and falling from ladders accounts for a large percentage of head traumas, some of which can result in Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries (MTBI).

Since becoming an object perpetually at rest is not an option lowering the impact of these unbalanced forces is the only way we can prevent these traumatic injuries from occurring. Fortunately with spring in the air now is a good time clean up our homes (where most of these injuries occur) to prevent these injuries from happening.

Here are some home safety tips to help prevent injuries and falls:

o   Clean up all spills immediately

o   Stay off freshly mopped floors

o   Secure electrical and phone cords out of traffic areas

o   Remove small throw rugs or use non-skid mats to keep them from slipping

o   Keep frequently used items in easily reachable areas

o   Wear shoes with good support and slip-resistant soles

o   Arrange furniture to provide open walking pathways

o   Keep drawers and cabinet doors closed at all times

o   Install handrails on all staircases on both sides

o   Remove tripping hazards (paper, boxes, books, clothes, toys, shoes) from stairs and walkways

o   If you have young children, install gates at the top and bottom of stairs (unlatch the gate in order to pass – don’t climb over them)

o   Ensure adequate lighting both indoors and outdoors

o   Remove debris from exterior walkways

o   Adjust gutter downspouts to drive water away from pathways

o   Periodically check the condition of walkways and steps, and repair damages immediately

o   Never stand on a chair, table or other surface on wheels
(NSC Injury Facts 2011).

These tips are quick and easy to do all it takes is a little effort to prevent you or a loved one from getting hurt.

Happy Spring!