THE GAME OF FOOTBALL - IT’S A BEAUTIFUL GAME THAT SOO MANY OF US HAVE FELL IN LOVE WITH.. BUT IT’S ALSO A BRUTAL ONE. WE WATCH ATHLETES PUT THEIR BODIES ON THE LINE WITH MULTIPLE COLLISIONS THAT ARE EACH SIMILAR TO THE FORCE OF A CAR ACCIDENT.
OVER THE YEARS WE’VE SEEN CHANGES TO MAKE THE GAME SAFER AND THE LEADING TOPIC OF DISCUSSION IS HEAD INJURIES. SO THE WAY WE APPROACH CONCUSSIONS TODAY IS A LOT DIFFERENT THAN EVER BEFORE.
“I mean it’s changed dramatically from when I first started 18 years ago, back then the proper protocol and this was coming down from the NFL and collegiate levels and from research. If the kid didn’t get knocked out, you asked him questions and if they couldn’t answer them you held them out, if they said they didn’t have any symptoms and you asked them questions later on you put them back in the game 15 minutes later. I mean that was common practice in the early 2000s and that’s what we were being told from research and everything else. “
SO WHATS BEEN DONE TO IMPROVE THIS PROCESS? WELL, FIRST THINGS FIRST. ONE OF THE BIGGEST HURDLES IN DIAGNOSING A BRAIN INJURY IS THE NEED OF BASELINE TESTING. A PRE INJURY MEASUREMENT THAT GIVES THE ATHLETIC TRAINER AN UNDERSTANDING OF HOW ONES BRAIN FUNCTIONS. SO IN ORDER TO SATISFY THAT NEED THE ATHLETIC TRAINERS IN THE QUAD CITIES ALL USE WHAT THEY BELIEVE IS THE BEST BASELINE TEST AVAILABLE.
“We went to the Cleveland Clinics C3 Logic testing which in my opinion is state of the art, top of the line. I honestly have told them multiple times I don’t want to work with it anymore knowing how affective it is.
THE C3 LOGICE TESTING SYSTEM IS GIVEN TO EACH ATHLETE BEFORE THE START OF THE SEASON. IT TAKES IN VISION, BALANCE , PROPRIOCEPTION AND A NUMBER OF COGNITIVE TESTS THAT ARE SPECIFIC TO THAT ONE ATHLETE.
“If you sprain your ankle, we can see the swelling, we can see the fact that you can’t run, we can see the fat that you can’t jump like normal or walk like normal. This is kind of that functional test for the brain. Because we can’t really see if your brain is not working right or working correctly so this is kind of that functional test where we can test the brain in a number of different ways so that we can make sure they’re ready to go back when it’s time to go back.”
“This is probably one of the tougher stances, it’s hard to maintain that stance as you can see. The reason why we do that baseline is because not everybody’s balance is the same. We want to make sure we’re comparing that athlete to themselves.”
AND THAT’S WHAT MAKES THIS TEST SO SPECIAL. EVERY ATHLETE IS DIFFERENT IN THE WAY THEY DEVELOP, GROW AND RECOVER. SO HAVING A SPECIFIC BASELINE TESTING TO THEM? WILL MAKE THE PROCESS OF DIAGNOSING A CONCUSSION A LOT MORE EFFICIENT.
(NAT OF TEACHING)
BUT EVEN THEN, THE PROCESS OF RETURNING TO FULL CONTACT AFTER A HEAD INJURY DOESN’T STOP WITH THE TESTING
“So when they are symptom free for 24 hours and they pass normal to their C3 logics baseline. Then what we do is have them start their 5 day return to play protocol. Day is a bike ride, day 2 is going to be a 10-15 minute run, day 3 is a sports specific non contact practice, day 4 then would be a regular practice and then day 5 is a game. So we do that to kind of test them at different thresh holds to make sure they can withstand and go back to full sport without having any returning symptoms.”
AS FOR THE COACHES, THEY WAY TEACH THE GAME HAS ALSO CHANGED IN RECENT YEARS. BECAUSE HOW THEY COACH IT NOW IS DIFFERENT THAN HOW IT WAS EVER TAUGHT BEFORE.
“Kind of reteaching how you tackle. I think for us we’re using the USA football model heads up tackling, teaching guys a completely different way from way I learned how to tackle. So with the way we teach tackling to the equipment we use to how we plan our practices it’s a lot different from how it was even three of 4 years ago. “
“We’ve changed our program a lot in the last 10 years. One thing if you look at our practice behind us you know our program, 5th grade through 12th grade we’ve invested in guardian caps trying to reduce impact during practice. We feel like you’re on the practice field 80-90 percent of the time you only play games once a week in pre season you don’t plat them for a month. That’s one factor we’ve done.
SO CHANGES HAVE BEEN MADE ALL ACROSS THE BAORD FROM HOW WE PLAY THE GAME TO HOW WE DIAGNOSE CONCUSSIONS. WHICH LEAVES NO DOUBT THAT FOOTBALL TODAY IS SAFER THAN IT EVER WAS BEFORE. BUT WE NEED TO REMEMBER THAT THE GAME IS VIOLENT WITHIN IT’S OWN NATURE SO THE RISK OF INJURY WILL ALWAYS BE THERE.