Tag Archives: symptoms

Study Shows Less Physically Mature Ice Hockey Players Have Prolonged Concussion Symptoms

A study led by a Hasbro Children’s Hospital sports medicine physician found that male student ice hockey players in earlier pubertal stages had a significantly increased risk of prolonged symptoms from concussion compared with advanced pubertal and postpubescent players.

Research by Peter Kriz, M.D., found that less physically mature players took on average 54 days – 21 days or nearly 40 percent longer – to recover compared to more physically mature players. Kriz said the findings further highlight the need for student athletes in collision sports to compete with similar-aged players and that there is risk in having younger, more talented athletes “play up” on varsity teams.

“Unlike other contact-collision scholastic sports with a high incidence of concussion, high school ice hockey lacks stratification by age grouping, largely because of prohibitive costs associated with equipment, transportation and ice time incurred with fielding varsity, junior varsity and freshman teams,” said Kriz. “Consequently, it’s not uncommon at the varsity level for younger, less physically mature players to oppose older players with increased strength, power and speed.”

The study, currently published online in The Journal of Pediatrics, assessed disparities in age, size, and physical maturity level among concussed adolescent ice hockey players 13 to18 years of age, and was performed at Hasbro Children’s Hospital, Boston Children’s Hospital, and South Shore Hospital, in Weymouth, Massachusetts. Additionally, the study also found that lighter weight among males and heavier weight among females increased the probability of experiencing prolonged concussion.

Concussion has been reported to be the most common youth ice hockey injury, representing more than 15 percent of all injuries in nine to 16-year-old players and nearly 25 percent of injuries among male high school players.

The study’s results challenge recent opinion, which has suggested that collision sport participation be postponed until freshman year or 14 years of age. “Sixty-five percent of freshman male ice hockey players in our study were in early stages of pubertal development and none were postpubertal,” said Kriz.

The findings also support concerns within the youth athletic community that adolescents might have longer recoveries from concussions than adults.

“Our findings have important implications for policy decisions related to grouping for high school ice hockey players,” explained Kriz. “While economic considerations often dictate whether a school fields ice hockey teams other than varsity, we support, at the very least, the establishment of junior varsity ice hockey by state interscholastic leagues for the purposes of player development and improved safety for undersized, peripubertal male players.”

Additionally, policies pertaining to high school football and boys’ lacrosse — two other collision sports which commonly permit underclassmen to “play up” on varsity teams — may ultimately be impacted by these findings, as lighter, less physically mature players may be at risk of prolonged concussion symptoms.

Kriz recommends that, until further studies determine valid physical maturity indicators, arbitrary age and grade cutoffs should not be used to determine when adolescent athletes are ready to participate in collision sports.

“Until such studies are available, collision-sport high school athletes should play in leagues grouped by relative age,” said Kriz. “Highly-skilled, peripubertal collision sport athletes should also be discouraged from ‘playing up’ at the varsity level with post-pubertal competitors three to four years their senior.”

In accordance with recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics, Kriz encourages youth hockey organizations to provide the option of non-checking divisions for players who remain in earlier stages of pubertal development, players who are undersized, players who have significant concussion histories precluding them from participating in collision sport participation or for players 13 years old or younger seeking safer alternatives to body checking leagues.

This study was funded in part by the National Federation of State High School Associations Foundation and the Rhode Island Foundation.

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NCAA Official Says Parents Have Called Him about Allowing Son or Daughter to Compete after Concussion

When Scott Bearby, General Counsel for the NCAA, was asked by yours truly at the NCAA Convention in San Antonio last week about who holds the athletic trainers and medical staff accountible about return-to-play decisions for student athletes, it opened the door to an interesting observation about the culture of concussions.Bearby

Part of Bearby’s answer follows:

The problem is “you may have parents haranguing that doctor to allow their son or daughter to compete. Its a very difficult situation that our medical personnel and trainers have to deal with. I mean I get calls from parents complaining about their decision not to let their son or daughter compete.”

For coverage of the convention as it related to concussions, including an exclusive interview with the association’s Chief Medical Officer Brian Hainline, see the upcoming February issue of Concussion Litigation Reporter..

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XLNTbrain Taps Former NFL Offensive Lineman Tony Mandarich as Spokesperson

XLNTbrain has secured former NFL offensive lineman Tony Mandarich to speak on behalf of the sports concussion management system during the College Football Playoff National Championship Game on Monday, January 11, 2016 during a radio interview tour leading up to the kickoff.

According to Steve Lewis, CEO of XLNTbrain, Mandarich provides an authentic, transparency to the concussion world.

“Tony’s life story of recovering from major difficulties, and becoming successful again in both personal and professional endeavors is very compelling,” said Lewis. “His reflections on his own concussions and health, education, recovery and responsibility reflect core values that can be applied not only in youth athletics and concussion management but in life generally. “We are excited about this affiliation, and hope we can help bring more awareness to what is being done now about sports concussions.”

A 1988 All-American for the Michigan State University Spartans, Mandarich will be onsite in Scottsdale, Arizona speaking with local, and national media at the “Audio Avenue,” providing game commentary, as well as revealing his concussion experiences as associated with XLNTbrain. Should underdog (3) Michigan State beat (2) Alabama in the playoff game on December 31, Mandarich’s football expertise will surely be in greater demand.

Mandarich is perhaps best known for being “the best offensive line prospect ever,” by Sports Illustrated in 1989. He came into the league as the second overall draft pick by the Green Bay Packers.

“With concussions being so prominent and affecting so many people on and off the field, I’m glad to be affiliated with this advanced concussion system. From what I’ve experienced with concussions personally, and what XLNTbrain is doing, I think we could play a big role in helping the problem go away,” said Mandarich, who played for the Packers until 1998.

After his playing days, Mandarich’s story has been well-documented for overcoming painkiller addiction and alcoholism, unfortunately which are common conditions among former NFL players. He also penned, My Dirty Little Secrets — Steroids, Alcohol & God in 2009 to help others struggling with these issues. Based in Scottsdale, Mandarich is also a professional photographer with an extensive library, and related services at http://www.TonyMandarich.com.

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