Concussions. An invisible injury that has long lasting consequences.
Concussions are garnering a lot of attention in the news over the past year or so due to Sidney Crosby and all the other concussed hockey players and major league sports players.
Before the start of the NBA season, a new concussion protocol was launched. The league has a concussion program director. Each player’s neurological baseline is studied before the beginning of the season. After a concussion, a player’s neurological baseline is compared to the initial test and the player has to return to his original neurological baseline in order to return to play. A series of tests are done to test exertion and if a player remains symptom free after these tests, he can return to play.
High schools in the United States are experimenting with using a new helmet cover developed by The Hanson Group in Georgia and Protective Sports Equipment in Pennsylvania. The helmet cover, nicknamed “the Guardian”, has 37 gel-filled pouches that fit over a helmet and cushion against helmet-to-helmet blows that are so dangerous that the NFL aggressively penalizes them.
The NFL’s helmet sponsor Riddell tweaks the padding and design of its equipment on a regular basis. Xenith LLC’s line of helmets use air-filled pads rather than foam. Other companies are testing more dramatic changes.
A New York-based startup company called Thermopraxis and Schutt Sports – the largest producer of football helmets – are working on a product called the Thermocrown. The Thermocrown is a bladder that can fit inside a player’s helmet. It is based on an idea developed by Renato Rozental, a Brazilian neuroscientist. The idea of the Thermocrown is that in the event of a hard hit to the head, a trainer or teammate would be able to attach a source of cooling gas to the bladder in the helmet to lower the head’s temperature and stave off damage, having a similar effect to applying an ice pack.
This concept can buy time, up to four to five hours to allow the hurt player to be taken off the field and transported to a hospital.
An independent industrial design engineer, Michael Princip is developing the Bulwark, featuring multiple plates on the helmet’s exterior, to mitigate the impact of big hits and frequent smaller ones that are part of the football games.
Hundreds of former NFL players are suing the NFL and helmet maker Riddell in the wake of a growing evidence connecting repeated blows to the head and long-term brain damage. Reported symptoms include short term and long term memory issues and depression and behavioural changes.
They say the league didn’t do enough to inform players about the dangers of head injuries and protect them from concussions in the past, and it isn’t doing enough to take care of them today. At the very least, these lawsuits brings awareness to the fore and they are about education and awareness down to the level of highschool football leagues and young football leagues.
The Youth Sports Concussion Program is the first program in Canada to create a standardized model for how primary care providers “diagnose, assess, treat and manage concussions.” It is being used in Peterborough, Ontario.
Family doctors and nurses are able to manage concussions without patients needed to go to the emergency room through the use of several tools and techniques compiled by the program. The program also focuses on concussion awareness through an education component by going to schools throughout Peterborough to educate youth about the seriousness of a concussion.
The program makes use of something called Axon Sports’ Computer Cognitive Assessment Tool. It’s a 10-minute-long online test that measures a person’s working memory, attention, learning and ability to process information in a set time frame . These are four skills that can be affected by concussions.
Young athletes take the test before their season begins to set a benchmark for their abilities. Should they be injured, they retake the test and compare the results. Comparing the test results is important because cognitive recovery takes longer than physical recovery. Most kids would try to play through a concussion and insist they are okay to play, this way, using a baseline study, there is a way to determine their level of functioning.
Aaron Waxman and Associates is a personal injury law firm that handles personal injury claims in Ontario. We handle serious injury claims and brain injury claims. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.