Category Archives: College

SEC Coordinator of Officials Sees Benefits from Targeting Rule

Steve Shaw, the SEC’s coordinator of officials, says the league’s new targeting rule has produced desirable results.

Shaw noted at SEC Media Days that he sees “evidence of players lowering the target and sometimes pulling up on an unnecessary hit so they’re not at risk for a targeting disqualification. The rule has done what we wanted to do and we need to stay with it.”refs

Shaw also noted that the league is making it a point of emphasis to penalize defensive players, who hit quarterback in the knee area. This was a fear when the targeting rule was implemented that defensive players would lower their target area too far.

Shaw said the SEC now has a defacto strike zone: “You hit them above the knee and below the neck.”

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Expert Looks at Cumulative Concussive and Sub-Concussive Events in Sport

By Michael J. Perrotti, Ph.D., Inc.

Recently, the NFL settled over 4,000 lawsuits by the players. It was reported that the NFL would make enough profits in the first week of the regular season to pay for the settlement! It was also reported that an initial lump sum was to be paid over three years and the balance paid in 17 years. It is doubtful that this can ever address the diminished quality of life of the players secondary to effects of brain injury. In fact, as this article was going to press, the court rejected the NFL settlement as not providing enough money to pay the players. In response,the NFL elected to remove the cap on the settlement amount.

As noted by Henry & De Beaumont (2011), the prevailing attitude in sport culture minimizes concussions. The recovery process is elongated with athletes with multiple concussions. Collins et.al. (2002) found that 9.4% of players with no history of TBI were found to have prolonged post-injury mental status. Chargers as opposed to 31.6% (3.36 odds ratio) of players with multiple concussions. Mounting evidence suggest that within the acute phase, athletes who sustained multiple concussions demonstrate increased symptomology. Junior Sean was reported to have told a friend who played soccer that he experienced headaches for years.

Animal studies demonstrate the existence of a temporal window of metabolic brain vulnerability to second in TBI that had unsubstantial adverse effects in mitochondrial related metabolism, Vagnozzi et.al. (2007).

Measurement

Moser & Schatz (2002) and Moser, Schatz, & Jordan (2005) found that high school athletes who had had two or more concussions had performance decrements on neuropsychological testing similar to athletes in the post-concussion phase. Neuropsychological deficits were found to increase concurrently with the number of concussions in soccer players Wall et.al. (2006) reported have significant neuropsychological deficits on younger athletes with Jockeys. High School football players who sustained a previous concussion resulting in loss of consciousness were four times more likely to sustain a grade 3 injury according to American Academy of neurology (AHN) Guidelines (Gerberich et al., 1983)

Imaging and Repeated Concussions

A large scale study looked at over 300 active amateur boxers. CT scans revealed the presence of a cavum septum pallucidum as a potential marker of Brain atrophy and also revealed that it is progressive in nature.

Long Term Effects

DeBeaumuat et.al (2009) found that former hockey and football players, 30 years post-concussion found decreased performance in neurocognitive measures compared to an age matched control group of former athletes. Guskiewicz et.al. (2005) identified that mild cognitive impairment (MCI) rates (converts to a 10 – 20% annual rate into dementia of Alzheimer’s Type) increased as a function of a number of concussions in former NFL players. Players who had three or more concussions had five times the probability of being diagnosed with MCI and three times more likely to manifest marked memory impairments than retired players with no history of concussion. This same study found an earlier onset of Alzheimer’s in concussed retirees than in the general U.S. population. Moreover, former NFL players with a history of multiple concussions were three times more likely to be diagnosed with depression.

Signs of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) can involve deficits in the areas of attention, memory, and executive function. Freeman, et.al. (2005) relate substantial preparations of subjects with Traumatic Brain Injury manifest agitation and anger 15 years post-injury. This writer has observed many patients in his practice with substantial clinical problems post TBI.

For his conclusions and his recommendations, visit the latest issue of Concussion Litigation Reporter.

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NCAA Issues Guidelines to Limit Contact in Football

By Brian Burnsed, of NCAA.com

For the past six months, the NCAA and College Athletic Trainers’ Society have been working with prominent medical organizations, college football coaches, administrators and conference commissioners to develop new guidelines to improve safety for student-athletes.

On Monday, those groups released three inter-association guidelines that address independent medical care for student-athletes, diagnosis and management of sport-related concussion, and year-round football practice contact.

The guidelines were created to generate a cultural shift within college athletics, encouraging all participants – athletic trainers, coaches and team physicians, among others – to embrace the parameters because they played a part in crafting them. The many groups involved in creating the documents hope that these guidelines generate immediate, tangible changes. The football practice contact guidelines, for instance, call for no more than two live contact practices per week throughout the regular season, which mirrors a policy first implemented by the Ivy League in 2011 and then by the Pac-12 last season.

“When you build inter-association consensus, I think it speaks much more powerfully because it’s not simply the NCAA making a rule,” said NCAA Chief Medical Officer Brian Hainline. “It’s consensus from numerous well-respected medical organizations, from football coaches, from football associations, from all of us. In terms of changing the culture around health and safety, that’s the best way to do it.”

“The opportunity to gather, at one table, the stakeholders from all disciplines in collegiate athletics, solely in the interest of student-athlete safety, is unprecedented,” added Scott Anderson, president of the College Athletic Trainers’ Society and head athletic trainer at Oklahoma.

The seeds for these guidelines were planted in January when the College Athletic Trainers’ Society and the NCAA Sport Science Institute jointly hosted the Safety in College Football Summit in Atlanta. Attendees included athletic trainers, neurologists, team physicians, university sports medicine program directors, the American Football Coaches Association and representatives from the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC, Ivy League and Conference USA, among other conferences. Together, through two days of discussion, the group laid the foundation upon which these guidelines ultimately were built. And while the summit focused on football, two of the resulting documents are germane to all contact sports.

After the summit, a working group was culled from summit attendees. Their charge over the past six months has been to craft language for the documents and build consensus among relevant groups, even those that were not represented at the summit. The working group sought to introduce the guidelines in advance of preseason football activities this summer so that teams from all three divisions have an opportunity to digest the recommendations and adjust accordingly.

“To have the NCAA, our medical professionals, coaches, school and conference administrators working collectively, speaks volumes about the desire to ensure the health and safety of our players,” said Duke University head football coach David Cutcliffe.

Though the guidelines have been released, they’re not set in stone. Because these aren’t legislated rules, there is flexibility to adjust the guidelines in real time. This is crucial because ongoing research, including a recently-announced $30 million initiative between the NCAA and Department of Defense, could reveal information that necessitates a real-time change in the approach to preventing and managing concussion, Hainline noted.

“Medicine really is a process that’s much more fluid, which led us to the guideline approach rather than pursuing legislation,” he said. “The words we like to use are ‘living, breathing.’ We’d much rather have a living, breathing document that can shift based on emerging evidence.”

Ultimately, the summit and ensuing guidelines aimed to bring the athletics community and the medical community to the same table to construct recommendations from the ground up. Early responses from coaches hint that the strategy could be effective in generating the culture shift Hainline and others crave.

“These guidelines are strict in concept but flexible in design, allowing coaches ample freedom to design practice schedules while limiting the amount of full-contact situations that players will experience,” Montana State football coach Rob Ash said. “There is no doubt in my mind that coaching staffs across the country at all levels will enthusiastically endorse these guidelines and incorporate them into their football practice regimen.”

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