Category Archives: Hockey

The Concussion Health Summit, In Partnership with Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Announces Dr. Kevin Guskiewicz as Keynote Speaker

Concussion Health, in partnership with Nationwide Children’s Hospital, will host The Concussion Health Summit in Columbus, Ohio, at the Hyatt Regency Friday, July 28-Saturday, July 29, 2017.

This two day long program will encourage education and discussion – bringing together an influential array of experts, practitioners, and innovators from a range of specialties who will discuss the latest knowledge and technology regarding concussion management. By emphasizing the importance of a multi-disciplinary approach, the Summit aims to make the connection between prevention, baseline testing, time of injury, post-injury exam and the recovery process. The Program Planning Committee has assembled a faculty of renowned clinical experts to provide opportunities for approved continuing education sessions as well as special programming for concussion

Photo by Tim Hipps

survivors and caregivers. The Concussion Health Summit will also provide opportunities to network through social events and round table discussions.

“Hearing from the diverse panel of experts assembled will afford attendees an opportunity to expand their knowledge and skill base in caring for concussion patients,” said Mark A. Letendre, ATC, Co-Chair of The Concussion Health Summit and Director of Umpire Medical Services for Major League Baseball. “Allowing a hands-on approach as part of the Summit will take thoughts and information shared and turn them into actionable patient care trajectories.”

The Summit will be highlighted by Dr. Kevin Guskiewicz who will serve as Luncheon Keynote Speaker on Saturday, July 29th.  Dr. Guskiewicz is a neuroscientist, nationally recognized expert and leading researcher in the field of sport-related concussions. He became dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in January 2016.

Other highlights include but are not limited to:

  • Nationwide Children’s Hospital Speaker –Thomas Pommering, DO, is Division Chief for Sports Medicine and Medical Director for Nationwide Children’s Sports Medicine. He is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics and Family Medicine at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. “The Concussion Health Summit is a great opportunity for medical professionals to learn and begin the process of applying the latest concussion diagnosis and clinical treatment advances supported by vigorous research,” said Pommering. “On behalf of Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Nationwide Children’s Sports Medicine, we are pleased to partner with Concussion Health and offer continued education and discussion on this very important topic.”
  • Baseline/Performance and Rehab/Progression Hands-On Workshops – These 30 minute hands-on workshops mimic clinical settings, providing interactive experiences with experts and attendees. Topics include: Train Above the Neck; Neck Strengthening; Lower Extremity Functional Testing; Vestibular; Vision; Exertion; Sport Specific Training.
  • Cutting-Edge Topics – Treatment of Concussion Starting Day 2; Baseline Testing as a Comprehensive Injury Program; Correlation Between Mild Head Trauma in Elderly Falls and Repeated Visits to the Emergency Department; Treatment Program for PTSD; Latest Non-Traditional Adjunctive Brain Recovery Therapies; Sub-Concussive Head Injuries; Neuropsychological Testing.
  • Continuing Education Credits – The Concussion Health Summit has been approved for 14 EBP Category hours/CEUs for Athletic Trainers and 14 continuing education credit hours for Physical Therapists and Occupational Therapists.

“Traumatic brain injury (TBI) has received notable attention in the literature over many years with a consensus that each individual presents uniquely and recovery requires an intra-disciplinary and customized approach,” said Bridgett Wallace, PT, DPT and Co-Chair of The Concussion Health Summit. “Yet, such ideas towards concussion (a type of TBI) has lagged in both research and clinical application. It is extremely exciting and promising to see experts from a variety of medical specialties sharing their knowledge on the evolving field of concussion management, especially the evolution of concussion as a treatable injury.”

Concussion Health and Nationwide Children’s Hospital would like to thank the following sponsor and exhibitors for their support of The 2017 Concussion Health Summit: Bertec, ImPACT Applications, Inc.; Micromedical Technologies, Inc.; Upledger Institute; Atlas Concussion Testing; Biodex; Cyrex Laboratories; Center for Pain & Stress Research; The IronNeck; BrainCheck; MedTrak VNG, Inc, and Natus; Shuttle Systems. Also, a very special thank you to the Columbus Clippers!

Visit the Concussion Health website at www.concussionhealth.com/the-concussion-health-summit for more information regarding speakers and topics. Registration for healthcare and educational professionals, as well as survivors and caregivers is now open: https://www.concussionhealth.com/register.html

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How Blows to the Head Cause Numerous Small Swellings Along the Length of Neuronal Axons

Researchers from The Ohio State University have announced they have discovered how blows to the head cause numerous small swellings along the length of neuronal axons. The study, “Polarity of varicosity initiation in central neuron mechanosensation,” which will be published June 12 in The Journal of Cell Biology, observes the swelling process in live cultured neurons and could lead to new ways of limiting the symptoms associated with concussive brain injuries.

Mild traumatic brain injuries, or concussions, cause a variety of temporary symptoms, including headache, nausea, and memory loss. But the effects of concussive impacts on neurons in the brain are poorly understood. One such effect is the development of “axonal varicosities,” small, bead-like swellings that appear along the length of neuronal axons, which are the parts of neurons that transmit electrical and chemical signals to neighboring nerve cells. Similar swellings are seen in the degenerating axons of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s patients.

Chen Gu and colleagues at The Ohio State University discovered that they could induce the formation of axonal varicosities in hippocampal neurons grown in the lab by “puffing” them with bursts of liquid from a small pipette. The pressure exerted by these puffs was similar to the forces neurons might experience after a blow to the head.

The axonal varicosities formed rapidly, particularly in younger neurons where they swelled up within 5 seconds of being puffed. A surprise to the researchers was that the varicosities disappeared several minutes after puffing, indicating that they are not a sign of irreversible axon degeneration.

Gu and colleagues could also induce axonal varicosities by repeatedly puffing cultured neurons with shorter bursts of liquid, mimicking the effects of repetitive, subconcussive impacts. Accordingly, the team also saw axonal varicosities in the brains of mice subjected to repeated light blows to the head.

The researchers found that puffing activated a mechanosensitive channel protein called TRPV4, which is enriched in the membrane of neuronal axons and allows calcium ions to enter the cell. Inhibiting this channel blocked the formation of axonal varicosities.

After entering axons through activated TRPV4 channels, calcium ions appear to disrupt the microtubule cytoskeleton by inhibiting a microtubule-stabilizing protein called STOP. This interrupts the transport of cellular materials along axonal microtubules, causing these materials to accumulate at several points along the axon where they may give rise to varicosities.

Older neurons, which are more resistant to the effects of puffing, express lower levels of TRPV4 and higher levels of STOP. “It will be interesting to determine whether these factors make a mature brain more resistant to mild traumatic brain injury than a young brain,” says Gu.

Puffing didn’t induce varicosities along the lengths of dendrites, the parts of neurons that receive chemical signals from neighboring nerve cells. Instead, the researchers found that dendritic, but not axonal, varicosities could be induced by prolonged treatment with glutamate, an excitatory neurotransmitter that is released from damaged axons.

“Taken together, our findings provide novel mechanistic insights into the initial stage of a new type of neuronal plasticity in health and disease,” says Gu, who points out that axonal varicosities have also been observed in healthy brains where neurons may respond to mechanical signals from their environment. “This process may therefore play a key role in neural development and central nervous system function in adults, as well as in chronic brain disorders and various acute brain injuries.”

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Virginia Tech Helmet Lab Announces First Four-Star Rating for New Hockey Helmet

A newly released hockey helmet has earned four out of five stars from the Virginia Tech Helmet Ratings, scoring higher than any other helmet since the first hockey ratings were released two years ago.

The new helmet, the Bauer RE-AKT 200, is the first to earn more than three stars. The star rating system, developed by researchers in the Virginia Tech Helmet Lab, rates a helmet’s ability to reduce the risk of concussion in the event of a head impact. All sports helmets, including those for hockey, must meet an impact-protection standard that evaluates the ability of helmets to minimize catastrophic head injury on a pass-fail basis.

“We supplement the standard by providing additional data so consumers can see the relative differences between helmets,” said Steve Rowson, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering and mechanics in the College of Engineering and director of the Helmet Lab. “We make that data available and release our testing methodology, which then becomes an additional design tool for the manufacturers.”

Using a headform instrumented with sensors, the Helmet Lab team simulates a range of impacts that a player might experience during a game, and measures how much the helmet reduces the head’s linear and rotational acceleration.

Rowson and Stefan Duma, the Harry Wyatt Professor of Engineering and interim director of the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science, began evaluating football helmets in 2011, designing the test methods based on millions of impacts they recorded from Virginia Tech football players.

The Helmet Lab team started testing hockey helmets a few years later, and has since rated more than 40 models.

Hockey players hit their heads on the ice, the glass around the rink, or each other; these surfaces can be rigid and players are typically traveling at high speeds, so impacts may be more severe than in other contact sports.

And hockey helmets tend to be light and thin, which limits their ability to reduce the force of a hit. In order to effectively absorb energy during an impact, thinner foam must be stiff. Thicker, softer foam that has more time to compress can cushion a broader range of impacts. The new Bauer helmet has slightly thicker padding than other models.

“I think this is the first example of the hockey helmet manufacturers using this test methodology and ratings protocol to influence the design,” Rowson said. “What we wanted to do was set a framework for improvement in protective design.”

The team’s methods have already contributed to improvements in football helmet design. When the first batch of ratings was released, only one helmet earned five stars. Today, 16 do, and virtually all new helmets get high marks.

“With the helmet ratings, we provide unbiased data and a transparent process that manufacturers can use to inform their design process and consumers can use to guide their choices,” Duma said. “We’ve been glad to have the opportunity to work with helmet companies to drive innovation, because we all have the same goal: to keep athletes as safe as possible.”

The team is also developing five-star ratings for bicycle and lacrosse helmets and soccer headgear.

Rowson says that helmets are just one piece of the equation in eliminating concussions. Behavioral changes in sports — for example, banning body-checking in youth hockey — can make an even more significant difference in reducing the number of injuries.

“You want to eliminate as many head impacts as you can, and then have the very best head protection in the event that you do hit your head,” he said.

The team’s current ratings are available online, and updated on a rolling basis.

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