Monthly Archives: June 2012

Concussion Education Programs Trickle Down to the Family Physicians

North of the border, a leading provider of free online continuing medical education programs for Canadian healthcare professionals, has announced the launch of a program entitled “Sports-Related Concussions: When Medicine and Sport Meet Head On.”

The program was developed by Dr Charles Tator, Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Toronto and Founder of ThinkFirst Canada, and Dr Michael Clarfield, Director of Sports Medicine Specialists in Toronto and former Head Team Physician of the Toronto Maple Leafs (1989-2004). The program aims “to provide Canadian family physicians with the tools and knowledge to properly recognize and counsel patients with a suspected concussion.”

Danny Weill, Vice President of mdBriefCase, called the program “a highly relevant learning opportunity” the organization’s 43,000 physician members. “Elite athletes like Sidney Crosby and Eric Lindros bring concussions to the forefront of not just medical health news, but mainstream media as well,” he said.

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After Much Thought, NASCAR Driver Returns After Concussion

By now, everyone who follows concussions knows that they are not the exclusive domain of football and hockey.

More proof of that was in evidence last week when race car driver Eric McClure returned to NASCAR after sitting out six weeks while dealing with the lingering effects of a concussion.

McClure told the media he considered not returning to racing.

“For me, I’ve always said that this isn’t the most important thing in my life,” he said. “Not because I’m not the most competitive guy. But I’m 33 years old, I have a family, I really enjoy time with them. So naturally, it’s just time in my life, not just because of the accident, that I’m thinking, what’s next?”

Photo by Tim Hipps

The concussion that McClure sustained in the May 5 race at Talladega was the third of his career, which is one of the reasons he sat out for an extended period of time.

“There’s not really a set timetable for those things and that’s been the challenging thing,” he said. “That’s what kept me from coming back was the lingering symptoms. I really felt a couple of weeks ago, after the first two weeks of being away from the track, and having total brain rest, that I was ready. But (my doctor) felt like we needed to wait, and I respect that opinion.”

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NCAA Plans to Hire Chief Medical Officer

The NCAA announced today that it plans to hire a chief medical officer within the national office to lead a new “Center of Excellence” that will serve as a national resource to provide expert safety, health and medical expertise.

How much of a factor was the increasing litigation around concussions in the decision to make this announcement?

That’s unclear. The NCAA didn’t mention concussions, opting for a more generic explanation:

“The chief medical officer will be responsible for the establishment of the new Center, as well as oversight of all student-athlete health and safety initiatives. The individual also will coordinate with the NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports.

“The chief medical officer also will oversee the current national office health and safety staff. The vice president level position will report directly to NCAA Chief Operating Officer Jim Isch.”

The Center of Excellence’s mission is to:

(1) Serve as the principal authority for all student-athlete health conditions, medical care and sports safety issues in support of the NCAA mission.

(2) Foster a national approach to research.

(3) Facilitate communication and collaboration across the NCAA and among key health and safety stakeholders.

(4) Develop national strategies, resources and tools to address identified gaps and challenges affecting student-athlete health and safety.

“This shift to a more active, thought-leader approach will significantly raise the profile of our health and safety efforts not only at the national office but with our membership,” said NCAA President Mark Emmert. “It’s truly a credit to the hard work and real progress that the health and safety team has made in recent years.”

The NCAA said it wants to hire the chief medical officer by the fall of 2012.

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