Tag Archives: change

Concussion Activist Is an Agent of Change

(Editor’s Note: Shared content from Concussion Litigation Reporter) Katherine “Price” Snedaker is striving to be an agent of change in concussion education for youth sports.

Whether that change is affected through public speaking, consulting, or social media, she doesn’t care. As long as change happens.

Founder of the portal www.pinkconcussions.com, we sought out Snedaker. An exclusive interview follows.

Question: What drew you to the concussion space?

Answer: In 7th grade, my son was hit with a soccer ball in temple while on the sidelines talking to a friend during school recess. He was dropped to the ground with what was diagnosed as a concussion which cause headaches, inability to read, and a change in his personality. It would be almost 3.5 months before he could return to school. He would concuss five more times in the next 13 months as his life and our family’s life was put on hold.  I wanted to understand what was going on and so I sought out experts in the field at conferences, on phone calls and face to face meetings.

Q: Why are we seeing more concussions today than we did 20 years ago?

A: I will go out on a limb here and give a non-traditional answer. The standard reasons usually given for this question are the change in the definition of a concussion to include concussions without LOC, public awareness efforts to educate, press about the NFL lawsuits, Chris Nowinski’s tireless efforts through SLI and Head Games, and the distribution of CDC materials, etc. But I also believe it is in part because concussions don’t fit the 2014 iPhone lifestyle.

Kids and adults today spend hours and hours on screens, smart boards, iPads and engaged in smart technology. When concussed in the 1970’s one would come home from school and probably took nap, maybe read a book, watched maybe an 1/2 hour of TV across the living room. I believe that without all the screen time, injured brains had more quality time to rest.

In terms of more sport-concussions, we do have more kids playing competitive sports at early ages and multiple sports are played around the year with overlapping seasons or simply seasons that never end. We also have as a society placed a huge focus on sports concussions even though best estimates are that only 1 out of every 4 concussions in children are related to playing an organized sport. A 2012 study showed that children are more likely to be taken to the doctor when they sustained a head injury in a sports-related activity than a child who is hurt in a non-sport related accident. Partially due to concussion education but I personally believe it is also because of the public nature of the injury that motivates parents to seek medical care.

Q: How do your organizations intersect with the legal side of the concussion crisis?

A: Our last four events have included lawyers as guest speakers who come to help clarify the legal issues around concussions to school nurses, staff and youth sports leaders. I believe there is a narrow band of time before lawsuits and insurance premiums will determine who plays what game and how.  I invite lawyers to our events to help people understand liability issues about concussion sideline recognition training, dispel fear, and teach staff and coaches how to protect against litigation and continue to play sports.

Q: Who needs what your organization provides the most and why?

A: Youth sports – our youngest athletes have the least experienced coaches and virtually no athletic trainers at their events. Coaches, parents and athletes themselves need to understand basic concussion signs and symptoms to recognize in oneself but also very importantly in one’s teammates.

Q: What are the keys to solving the concussion crisis?

A: Here are some key steps any adult can take to become a resource when a head injury takes place. You can save a life.

  1. Stay calm.
  2. Click these links to learn:
  3. Take the free CDC online concussion courses – takes 20 minutes:

As a community, we need to take these key steps:

  1. Fund full-time athletic trainers in every school along with school nurses.
  2. Launch national youth database like InjureFREE.com in every k-12 school for the school year 2013-2014, and see what is really happening out there.
Posted in General, High School, Hockey, Other Sports, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Headers Are about to be Eliminated from Soccer

It may be in a couple years, or it may be ten years from now. But headers will be eliminated from soccer in the future.

Why?

Because of studies like the one published recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), which suggested that changes had occurred in the brains of professional soccer players who have never suffered a concussion, but routinely engaged in headers in practice and in games.

Specifically, the changes occurred in the white matter of their brains. According to Time Magazine, which wrote briefly about the study, white matter “is made up of nerves and their myelin protective coating (similar to the insulation that blankets electrical wire) that play a significant role in connecting brain regions and establishing neural networks that are critical to cognition.”

The study, led by Inga K. Koerte of Harvard Medical School in Boston, was the first to look at how repeated blows to the head, which aren’t a concussion by definition, impact the brain.

“In the study, the researchers compared brain scans of 12 male soccer players from German elite-level soccer clubs who had not experienced a concussion, to brain scans of 11 competitive swimmers who had similarly never experienced repetitive brain trauma,” according to Time. “The research team used high-resolution diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), which looks at the brain microscopically and is much more effective at catching white matter changes than the standard MRI.

“The researchers found surprising alterations in the white matter that were ‘consistent with findings observed in patients with mild TBI, and suggesting possible demyelination [nerve disorder].’ Even though the players had no concussions, their brains told a different story of damage, including changes to the myelin sheaths surrounding nerves.”

The implications for soccer are significant.

 

Posted in General, Other Sports, Outside U.S., Professional | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Headers Are about to be Eliminated from Soccer