Return to Play Decisions: The hits and the HIT (system).

It’s October, and I thought I’d share a blog post I previously wrote about return to play decisions (see below). The football teams I cover are smack dab in the middle of their seasons; I, like all my colleagues covering teams this fall, have been busy making plenty of ‘return to play decisions.’

What do you all do with your 7 and 8 year olds? Yes, your 7 and 8 year olds……little did I know when I started my career that I would be making ‘return to play’ decisions for this age group, but that is among my duties here at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. How about you?

With that sort of return to play decision in mind, I could hardly find a more relevant piece of original research than the study on head impact exposure in youth football in the September 2014 CJSM.  The authors–a group from Virginia Tech and Wake Forest–are well known for recently publishing various studies on head  impact exposure using the ‘Head Impact Telemetry’ (HIT) system.   The HIT system is being used more regularly at various levels of football in helping to determine when an athlete may need a sideline evaluation.  As we all know, athletes in the heat of competition are not always the most forthcoming in sharing when they may have had a symptomatic hit; for that matter, the collective body of sideline physicians, athletic trainers and coaches don’t always pick up on the hits that occur right in front of our eyes:  just ask Brady Hoke and the Michigan Wolverines.

Returning to youth sport… my friends at MomsTeam have written, “the day when monitoring of head impact exposure in football and other contact and collision sports becomes commonplace is closer at hand than one might think.”  Here’s a list of what’s available right now for players from youth level on up to the pros (again, thanks MomsTeam for the reference).

I can forsee the time when I will integrate head impact exposure data along with what I find with my other concussion assessments to determine when I will release one of my youth athletes back to the field.  Next season, I will likely be involved with coverage of a high school which uses “Shockbox” technology.  However, I don’t currently use such systems; that is to say, none of the teams I cover, high school or university, use the HIT system or any other impact exposure technology.  Are you already using such technology in your determinations? Let me know if you are.  I’d like to learn more.

Enjoy the reblogged post below.


Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine Blog

535001_10201384038456502_1470889600_n Though a beautiful time of year, fall is not
the most idyllic for a sports medicine clinician

Like many of the readers out there, my colleagues and I are deep in a football season, where we are managing various teams and their mounting injuries.  For a sports medicine physician, fall in America must be a bit like early spring for an accountant (tax day = April 15):  it’s the time to buckle down and crank through patients, the time, from a certain perspective, to see the volume of patients that will sustain the business through leaner times of the year.

When I’m out of the clinic and on the sidelines, I’m also doing one of the parts of my job that is the most fun, and I’m sure my colleagues out in the blog sphere will agree.  But I wouldn’t describe the work as an idyll.  I can be enjoying…

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About sportingjim
I work at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio USA, where I am a specialist in pediatric sports medicine. My academic appointment as an Associate Professor of Pediatrics is through Ohio State University. I am a public health advocate for kids' health and safety. I am also the Deputy Editor for the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine.

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