As rule changes focus more and more on player safety and concussion prevention, Boise State’s football team is attempting to get ahead of the curve with some tips from another hard-hitting sport.
Broncos head coach Chris Petersen had the local Snake River Rugby Club come in to run a tackling session with his players. Snake River is coached by former U.S. national team captain Mike Saunders and features former members of the Boise football team on the roster. Read more
HARD knocks to the head are a constant concern in contact sports — and not just in football or boxing, where recent attention has focused. Millions of girls and boys play hockey, soccer, lacrosse and other sports where blows to the head from collisions and falls are part of the game, even in youth leagues and on high school teams.
Head injuries can come from a single jarring impact during a game, or from a series of smaller jolts. But in the midst of play, many blows aren’t necessarily easy to spot by coaches, physicians or parents in attendance.
A crop of new lightweight devices that athletes can wear on the field may help people on sidelines keep better track of hits to players’ heads during games and practice sessions. The devices, packed with sensors and microprocessors, register a blow to a player’s skull and immediately signal the news by blinking brightly, or by sending a wireless alert. Read more
While enjoying dinner with his wife on Monday, Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander Brandon McCarthy suffered a seizure that doctors have linked back to the head injury he sustained when struck in the head by a line drive last September. See article here
Citation: Randolph, C., Millis S., Barr, W. B., McCrea, M., Guskiewicz, K. M., Hammeke, T. A., & Kelly, J. P. (2009). Concussion Symptom Inventory: An Empirically Derived Scale for Monitoring Resolution of Symptoms Following Sport-Related Concussion. Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, 24, 219-229.
Review by Matt Holcomb, PhD
The present article is based on the combination of the data derived from 3 case-controlled studies which used the Concussion Symptom Inventory (CSI). The aim was to identify which inventory items were more relevant in detecting and tracking sport-related concussions. As the authors point out, the literature on concussions is filled with empirically derived controlled outcome studies, which has led to confusion on best practices in classifying concussions and determining return-to-play. This study resulted in an empirically derived CSI. Twelve items were found to adequately discriminate concussed from non-concussed, resulting in a much more brief inventory (from 20-27 items). This study is an important step in formalizing standards and practices for evaluating concussions. As with most scale development the study lacks independent verification, and further development of cut-off scores which could aid the process of concussion identification. Read more
Reviews by Brad Tyson, PHD
This article looks at resting-state fMRI to evaluate the default mode network in two groups of participants: 15 neurologically normal collegiate athletes with no history of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) and 14 collegiate who recently suffered a sports-related mTBI. Scanning in the mTBI group took place within 24 hours of clinical symptoms resolution and medical clearance for the first stage of aerobic activity by their supervising physician, which was 10 (+/-2) days post-injury on average. A third group of nine collegiate athletes with multiple mTBIs that were not scanned within 24 hours of symptom resolution, but nonetheless scanned in 10 (+/-4) days post-injury on average, were included in an exploratory regression analysis. Results demonstrated a higher than average connection strength in the controls when compared to the mTBI group and a downward trend in the number of connections as the number of mTBIs increased. Read more
TGen and Riddell Announce Partnership for Biomarker Study of Concussive Injuries
Riddell’s Sideline Response System to provide real-time head impact data on athletes, combined with TGen’s molecular clues from players with concussions to unlock keys to monitoring of head injury
Head protection plays a vital role in the health and safety of any athlete participating in helmeted sports. In a move that could help revolutionize football player safety, the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), and Easton-Bell Sports through its Riddell brand, announced today they would work together on a study designed to advance athlete concussion detection and treatment. Information gathered through the study will also be used to develop new football headgear and further refine updates to player monitoring technology. Read more
Citation: King, D., Clark, T., Gissane C., (2012) Use of a rapid visual screening tool for the assessment of concussion in amateur rugby league: A pilot study. Journal of Neurological Sciences, 320, 16-21.
Review (Matt Holcomb, PhD)
The present study is a prospective cohort study of concussion outcomes for two amateur rugby teams. Teams were assessed using the King-Devick (K-D) test, which is a visual scanning task with increasing demand. The K-D may be an important future tool with regards to concussion management. Certainly, the speed and ease of administration make it an attractive option when compared to presently available tools. However, the study lacks some foundational psychometrics including a normative sample, and test-retest reliability, and an extremely small sample. Read more
by Matt Holcomb, PhD
The present study is a cohort comparison study which evaluated possible difference in performance between high school athletes completing preseason baseline neurocognitive testing in group versus individualized settings. Findings, suggest that baselines obtained in group settings showed decreased performance when compared to those tested individually. Far from condemning the practice of group neurocognitive testing, the purpose of the article is to educate and highlight limitations of group administration on neurocognitive testing; thus minimizing its impact on performance. Limitations include a lack of effort testing, retrospective group assignment, and unstandardized instructions (particularly for participants assigned to the “group” condition). There is also no control for team-effects (most football players received individual administration, while soccer players received group administration). Read more
The article titled, “Differences in Change Scores and the Predictive Validity of Three Commonly Used Measures Following Concussion in the Middle School and High School Aged Population, by M. Barlow et al, 2011, is a level B study that utilizes a cohort comparison design. The title, abstract, and background information are generally effective in providing appropriate information and understanding. However, the study has a number of methodological concerns related to the sample characteristics, assessment tools, and statistical procedures that were used. The limitations of this study are serious enough to call into question the results and proposed implications.
By Erin Almklov, PhD
Citation: Yard, E. E., & Comstock, R. D. (2011). Compliance with return to play guidelines following concussion in US high school athletes, 2005-2008. Brain Injury, 23(11), 888-898.
Review by Laszlo A. Erdodi, PhD
This was a prospective cohort study including 100 nationally representative American high schools. Concussion data were provided by certified athletic trainers through an online reporting system. Injuries were retrospectively graded according to AAN and Prague return-to-play (RTP) guidelines. The strengths of the study are a large, demographically representative sample; simultaneous comparison of concussion rates based on AAN and Prague classification; reporting data separately for gender, concussion severity and type of sport. Some of the weaknesses are selection bias (inclusion criteria favor better regulated institutions); imperfection in reporting system (insufficient detail to confidently classify a given incident); and concussion severity classification was performed post hoc.