Tag Archives: concussion management

The Athletic Trainer’s Role in Youth Sports

27 Mar

Wow, the month of February and March have been a flurry of activity for me.  I have been able to provide athletic training care to thousands of athletes at a youth soccer tournament, PIAA District Wrestling Championships, PIAA State Wrestling Championships, PA Junior Wrestling State Championships as well as my own athletes at my employer.  While providing these services to these groups, I was keenly aware of the amount of athletes who don’t get these services.

In an article on the Discovery Networks website, the author explores the possibility of “Smart Helmets” changing the future of youth sports.  The author quotes:

Identifying the injury is only the first step, the authors note. Smart helmets aren’t a diagnostic tool; rather, the technology could help make the connection between an athlete who may have an injury and a medical assessment. When a sensor is triggered, the athlete would need evaluation from a trained professional on-site or a referral for off-site medical evaluation.

This one paragraph clearly delineates our profession’s role in Youth Sports.  I am all for this smart technology that will clearly indicate when a possible concussive hit has been absorbed by an athlete of any age.  But a fancy LED display that indicates an excessive force is useless if their isn’t a medical professional there to clinically evaluate the athlete.  Youth football leagues need to provide athletic training services to these athletes.

Little Baseball is suffering a similar issue with pitch counts, curve ball debates and pitchers throwing with sore arms.  Pitch counts are a great tool, but they are limited in scope.  Many of the better players are playing on 2 or even 3 baseball teams at the same time.  Other youth baseball players are playing for 9 or 10 months of the year.  Research has shown that it isn’t the type of pitch that is thrown (i.e. curve ball), it is the volume of pitches that are thrown.  The volume of pitches thrown dramatically increase when you play for 2-3 teams a year.  Who is watching out for these young athletes?  Who can these young athletes approach to evaluate their arm pain without their parents making the first contact?

I firmly believe it is our profession of athletic training that can make a difference in these young athletes’ health and lives.  As my friend and colleague has in his email tagline “Every athlete deserves an athletic trainer.”  I wholeheartedly agree from ages 7 to 70 and up.  If you are involved in organized athletics, you not only deserve an athletic trainer; you need an athletic trainer.

What is Our Focus?

15 Dec

Two recent articles have me thinking about what our role as Athletic Trainers is towards the athletes that we provide health care to.  In a New York Times article, a former Denver Bronco Nate Jackson calls out athletic trainers in the NFL.  He says:

This harsh reality is softened by human relationships. Football players spend every day with the members of their team’s medical staff. They learn to trust them. The athletic trainers nurse the players back to health when they are injured. Continue reading

News – He is the injured athlete’s go to guy

28 Oct

Raleigh, NC – Burgetta Eplin Wheeler of th News Observer in North Carolina wrote an article about the work of Aaron Minger, AT at Boughton HS.  This isn’t a fluff piece of reporting touting the service Aaron provides to the athletes, this is an in depth article focusing primarily at the money he saves the parent’s of the school district.

Hours after the school day has ended, Aaron Minger, Broughton High’s athletic trainer, is idling in a golf cart in the middle of the football practice field, easily accessible to all 120 players. Not 60 seconds after mentioning he’s always on call for other sports, Minger picks up his ringing phone.

It’s the women’s tennis coach, and a player is down. Continue reading

Follow Up – Why ATs are needed

20 Sep

On August 31, 2011, I wrote this blog entry highlighting an unfortunate situation in Nokesville, VA.  In the entry I wrote:

The sad realization is this, that if a experienced athletic trainer was managing this football player’s concussion I firmly believe this young man would be alive today.  If the parents were instructed about cocoon therapy properly, then this young man may be a freshman in college today.  But, only 42% of this countries high schools provide an AT for their athletes!  We need to change this or there will be more sad stories, more grieving parents, more schools who will lose a bright student and a vibrant member of their community.

My blog entry was missing some major information – there was an athletic trainer present at the game.  Several AT who know the inside story not revealed in the original article highlighted in my post, informed me of this important fact. Continue reading

Why ATs Are Needed in High Schools

31 Aug

Nokesville, VA – The following story (linked below) maybe one of the saddest stories that I have read this year and it strengthens my resolve to be a better AT and hopefully prevent this from happening in my school.  As a parent of a daughter in high school, I can’t imagine the depth of pain these parents must feel in the seemingly preventable loss of their son.

Austin Trenum’s bed remains half-made, the way a typical teenager would leave it. On a shelf is his scarred black helmet, the one he was wearing when he tackled the quarterback near the sidelines during Brentsville High’s game against Handley some 11 months ago. Austin’s mouthpiece remains tucked neatly in the face mask, ready to be taken out for the next play.

For Austin, there was no next play. Continue reading

News – Certified Athletic Trainers Key to Diagnosing and Treatment of Concussions

21 Aug

Idaho – For the past few years, there has been increasing awareness within the media of the problem of concussions in high school sports.  This awareness has raised the level of concern by parents, coaches and administrators, but the awareness hasn’t raised the collective knowledge level.  Proper recognition and treatment of concussions is still a problem.

Zach Kyle of the Idaho State Journal wrote an outstanding piece on the problem.  He writes:

Concussions always will be a reality in high school sports. Continue reading

Why Concussion Legislation is Needed

18 Apr

Many states across the country are in the process or have already passed legislation in the management of concussions.  With awareness of the injury rising and with pressure changing on athletes to no longer play with a concussion, you may ask yourself why this is needed.

This article out of San Diego, CA  illustrates what has been going of for years between knowledgable ATs and coaches all across the country.  Egotistical coaches whose desire to win outweighs their care for their athlete’s health make bad decisions.  Continue reading