In a recent article, the Wall Street Journal reported that the NCAA, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense, is undertaking a 3 year $30 million dollar study pertaining to head injuries and concussions. Of note, the NCAA has already agreed to pay $75 million to settle a class action lawsuit over concussion related claims.

They intend to place sensors in the helmets where the sport requires helmets, and directly on the skin where the sport doesn’t require helmets. These sensors measure the “hit count” and the forces associated with the individual hits. They will utilize special MRI imaging, and have blood work drawn to help identify any biomarkers that may be diagnostic of concussions.

The wall street Journal reported that “If the person doesn’t drop to the ground and lie there unconscious, it’s not always clear whether they have a concussion,” said Thomas W. McAllister, chairman of the department of psychiatry at Indiana University School of Medicine, who is one of the principal investigators in the concussion study. “We rely on the athlete to self-report. Most don’t want to report.” and “The problem is athletes who want to get back in a game may inadvertently or intentionally provide misleading information.” This is not the gold standard in concussion management, we are far beyond what these statements suggest.

This study has the potential to add to our traumatic head injury database and help a lot of athletes and soldiers, but some of the NCAA responses suggest that they may be a little behind the curve on the state of the art on concussion identification and treatment. Sure we need to learn more, but we already have strategies to prevent, identify, and treat concussion in athletes.

  1. Baseline testing is an important tool to assess what may be subtle changes associated with concussions.
  2. The threshold for re-injury is lower until the concussion has resolved.
  3. There is no blood test, or conventional CT or MRI that will reliably identify concussions- yet
  4. Proper technique and coaching has been shown to reduce the number of catastrophic head and spinal cord injuries.
  5. The vast minority of concussions do NOT involve loss of consciousness.

I applaud further organized study, but lets not forget that we already know that a complete and up to date concussion education and monitoring program coupled with baseline testing and evaluation by an experienced physician for injured or possibly injured athletes has been proven to improve outcome in these injured athletes.

Related Posts

  • 91
    Kudos to Trinity Christian Academy in Addison Texas. This school serves as a great example of how to strategically handle the aftermath of concussion among young athletes. You may have heard the recent NPR story on this subject. For those who didn’t, here’s the condensed version. A Trinity football player…
    Tags: concussion, football, athletes, head, brain, concussions, injury, sports, testing, injuries
  • 83
    NFL Linebacker Chris Borland’s recent decision was a brave one; he walked away from a $3 million contract over the issue of concussions. Last August, the 24-year old Borland was just starting out as a rookie linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers. During his first training camp he suffered a…
    Tags: concussion, concussions, sports, injuries, football, athletes, head, $, injury, brain
  • 80
    A proper concussion management program requires many people filling many roles to be successful. A successful clinic requires many people filling many roles to provide exceptional patient care. I would be unable to do my job without the support that I have. Tranette Ledford is one of those people. In…
    Tags: concussion, head, injuries, injury, concussions, baseline, brain, athletes
  • 77
    Concussion awareness has skyrocketed. And as we’re learning, it’s a good thing. More school athletic departments are making players sit out following head injuries. More parents are seeking immediate medical treatment when their child suffers a head injury. And more lawsuits are targeting sports organizations at all levels – organizations…
    Tags: concussion, head, concussions, injuries, injury, sports, study, testing, baseline
  • 75
    A recent University of Pittsburgh Medical Center study on high school athletes who had a sports related concussion shows a significant relationship between recovery time for those who treated it right away and those who returned to the playing fields. More importantly the study also addressed the long-range impact of…
    Tags: concussion, sports, baseline, injuries, athletes, study, concussions, football, injury, testing
Tagged on:                                         

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.