My Final Day at ACSM 2013
June 2, 2013 1 Comment
Where did the time go?
The last day for the 2013 American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting in Indy has come and gone (unbelievably) and I want to share with you some of the highlights of the sessions I attended. It was a busy, fulfilling, and energizing few days of a conference that already has me thinking about future meetings: AMSSM, CASEM and ACSM 2014 (not to mention heading to an Australian Sports Physicians Meeting some day!)
I attended a rowing medicine session delivered by Drs. Kate Ackerman, Timothy Hosea and Kris Karlson which I thoroughly enjoyed. Dr. Hosea, a Team Physician for the U.S. National and Olympic Rowing teams, chaired the session, and together the three reveiwed a host of the most common issues in the scientific and clinical care of this special group of athletes. Among many new pieces of information I walked away with, they pointed out an excellent review article on the subject from Lisa McDonnell of New Zealand which I would commend to the blog’s readership. In addition, for anyone interested in this topic who was not able to attend the session, and who is not familiar with our journal’s excellent series of journal club articles, I would point you in the direction of the journal club review from 2011 CJSM authored by Seamus Dalton of Australia which reviews a 1997 study by Hickey et al.
Next, I attended a session on “Injury Prevention Equipment in Youth Sports” delivered by my friends Andrew Gregory, M.D. and Greg Canty, M.D. This is a topic of special interest to me, as it not only involves pediatric athletes, my area of medical specialization, but addresses the issues of primary and secondary prevention of injuries.
Dr. Canty discussed the issues of head, mouth and neck gear, with a particular focus on their use in mitigating the rate of concussions in contact and collision sports. Dr. Gregory focused on a broad overview of protective equipment, and the most important facts I took away from his talk concerned the rare but catastrophic injury, commotio cordis.
This injury cannot be prevented by commercially available chest protectors: there are no data in any peer-reviewed study that have shown a decrease in the rate of commotio cordis for athletes playing baseball, softball, hockey or lacrosse. There is, however, evidence in favor of using “safety baseballs,” a softer version of a baseball which meets specifications set by the National Operating Committee on Standard for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE).
So, the take-home message would be to league administrators, coaches and parents: make rules changes and invest money in safety baseballs as opposed to chest protectors.
For blog readers who would like to explore the issue of injury prevention in youth sports in further detail, I commend to you two articles from the pages of CJSM: an article by Tim McGuine on injury prevention research in high school athletes and one by Russell et al. of Canada to which Dr. Gregory alluded in his talk. The Canadian article investigated the use of wrist protectors in a snow boarding population, and found a demonstrably reduced risk of wrist injuries in the youth using the equipment. In fact, the authors of that study were able to generate a “Number Needed to Treat” (NNT): for every 50 youth wearing the protectors, there would be one less wrist injury. I know what I’ll be doing with my kids next winter.
Finally, I would argue that the great value of attending a conference in this modern, digital, ‘virtually’ connected world is the chance to connect face-to-face, the chance to break bread and enjoy drink with intelligent, motivated people; in fact, to take the process of education out of the confines of the lecture hall and into the pub!
So, I leave you with these final photographic memories of a conference where the time was well spent interacting with some very intelligent, energetic clinicians and researchers. As ever, I am impressed with this field of clinical sports medicine and so happy to be part of it.
So, if you were in attendance at ACSM 2013, please give us a shout on this blog or on twitter @cjsmonline or on the Facebook feed at https://www.facebook.com/cjsportmed, as we are all over the virtual world. And even if you weren’t in attendance, and you have a comment on any of these issues, from rowing medicine to injury prevention to the joys of sharing libations with your sports medicine peers, by all means, this is the venue to share your thoughts.
Keep following this blog, pass it on to your friends, and we’ll see you soon with our next post.