• Creating an Impact

    Yes, this is another concussion article. It may seem like I am a week too late on this since Jay Cutler, Alex Smith and Michael Vick were not injured yesterday, but a Sunday ago. Well, it was not until this morning until I read Peter King's article that I saw some interesting things and I will not stop banging this drum until a resolution is made. I will try to provide information after I read it and when I find it interesting.

    In another recent thread, I mentioned the ImPACT concussion test that is used by NFL, college and high school teams is a nice tool that may not even be right the tool for the job in the diagnosing of and recovery from concussions and concussion symptoms. I mentioned the best marketers of the ImPACT test are the creators themselves and that the test may not be the thing that should be used on the sidelines and in the team facilities during the week. The creators are PhDs and MDs. I am not saying that they are definitely wrong, but I am saying that we aren't sure if they are right and that we aren't sure of when the ImPACT test is the proper tool. The langauge on the ImPACT site is written in a way to make sure this is known:

    ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) is the first, most-widely used, and most scientifically validated computerized concussion evaluation system. ImPACT was developed to provide useful information to assist qualified practitioners in making sound return to play decisions following concussions.
    ImPACT can be administered by an athletic trainer, school nurse, athletic director, team doctor or psychologist, provided that they have completed training in the administration of the test. Post-concussion care and the management of concussion should only be administered by professionals with specialized training in concussion management. ImPACT assists doctors in making return-to-play decisions and should never be used as a stand-alone tool or as a diagnostic instrument
    The use of the word "assist" in the first paragraph and the bolded use of the word "never" in the second paragraph seem to be most interesting to me. What if the teams are using the test as the one and only method? Does that not sound possible? Do any of you out there know for sure that more than one method is being used?

    On to the comments from Mr. King's article:

    The co-chair of the NFL's head, neck and spine committee, Dr. Richard Ellenbogen, told me the problem with players being removed from games immediately after being concussed is that a concussion is often not immediately apparent. Alex Smith played most of a series after being concussed last week, as did Jay Cutler. "We've had 193 instances of the athletic trainers upstairs calling down to the sidelines this year to tell medical officials to check out a player,'' Ellenbogen said. "Regarding concussions, there is no perfect rule for diagnosing a concussion. Often times, because players on the field have so much adrenaline going, a concussion doesn't show up for some times.'' The key, he said, is not only diagnosticians looking for concussions, but self-reporting, and we know how difficult that is during the course of a game.
    Boy, that also sounds like a smart guy who is not sure that we have even made the right first step. What if the answer is sensors in the helmets and precautionary measures that force all of our star quarterbacks from playing 16 full games. If there is a threshold that can be proven about the force needed to create a concussion, why isn't it common knowledge yet? What if the threshold for each player is different based on their biology?

    The other major problem that will prevent safety in the NFL is the players themselves. Ephraim Salaam talked during a recent podcast with Robert Mays on www.grantland.com about every major representative from his team visiting him shortly after surgery. Each person told him about "needing him out there." Then there is the gladiator mentality and the non-guaranteed contract that looms over the whole discussion.

    Finally, I mentioned that Pop Warner football will be extinct in our lifetimes in a previous article. Mr. King referenced an article speaking on that as well: http://www.slate.com/articles/sports...and_knock.html

    I'm not exactly sure how to end this disjointed mess, so I'll just say that when it comes to concussions and the NFL and the future of the league:

    Read More: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/201...#ixzz2ChAGZ2lB

    ImPACT site: http://impacttest.com/about/background

    Comments 6 Comments
    1. biggittyb's Avatar
      ya if those 4,000 NFL players win their lawsuit, the future of the sport is definitely in peril
    1. darvon's Avatar

      1) Just like cigarettes, the lawsuit will be fought hard and some lawsuit, perhaps not this one, will be settled.

      2) Pop Warner may go away, but public HS and public College Football is broadly protected by liability law. So we have JH and HS football feeders and not Pop Warner. Is that going to doom the sport? I don't think so. Most kids don't narrow their focus on football until HS.

      3) That is just standard legal boilerplate on IMPACT. It may not be a good test yet, but its the best one out there.

      4) Sensors in the helmet and a mandatory limit, over which you gotta get tested, is the way. Soon. But it's Pandora's Box. At whatever resonable "testing limit" you set, the NFL is going to find about 50 impacts over that limit per game. The accelerometer sees all, tells all. Will they be able to deal with that?
    1. wxwax's Avatar
      The fundamental problem is that concussion research is in its infancy. Decisions will have to be made in the dark, or the near-dark. Nobody knows how to reliably interpret accelerometer data, for example.

      I guess, over time, it could go one of two ways. Either all sports which deliver consistent blows to the brain -- football, boxing, for example -- are banned.

      Or we all agree that adults can do what they want to their bodies, players sign a waiver and sports continue as they are today.
    1. darvon's Avatar
      Or we all agree that adults can do what they want to their bodies
      That one aint gonna happen.
    1. SpartaChris's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by darvon View Post
      That one aint gonna happen.
      Nope, lawyers know too much money is at stake to ever let adults be responsible for their own well-being.
    1. wxwax's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by SpartaChris View Post
      Nope, lawyers know too much money is at stake to ever let adults be responsible for their own well-being.
      If players sign a waiver, done deal. Boxing survives despite the known risks.