Concussions: The “Injury of 2018”

Concussions remain a dominant subject in the sport medicine literature and media at large — Photo: PET Scan Brain, Wikimedia

As 2018 winds down, the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, like so many of its sister media, finds itself in a reflective mood.

Time magazine, for instance, has just named its “Person of the Year”: a group of journalists the magazine notes has been ‘targeted’ for the work they do pursuing the truth.  Time calls them The Guardians. It is an interesting selection:  a media outlet honoring other professionals in its own line of work.

I thought it time that CJSM do its own version of “Person of the Year,” but with a sport medicine twist — Injury of the Year.

I’m naming “Concussion” the Injury of the Year.  In 2019, I’ll have my ‘act together’ and put out a Twitter poll in late November for reader contributions; but in 2018, I’ll have to play judge and jury, given that it’s nearly mid-December. Thanks for indulging me!

Like LeBron James of the NBA, who could probably be named MVP in any year he has played in the league, concussion is a sports injury which could probably earn this distinction in any year over the last decade or more.

In truth, 2018 was a red banner year for the injury, so to speak.  As an example, nearly our entire March 2018 issue was devoted to original research on various aspects of the subject, including a systematic review on the long-term consequences of traumatic brain injury in professional football players.  Continuing this line of reasoning, I would draw your attention to another noteworthy systematic review just published in our last issue of 2018 (November).   This one looks at the utility of blood biomarkers in the assessment of sports-related concussions (spoiler alert:  we have a long way to go in developing these for ‘prime time’).

The dominant theme of our 2018 podcasts was, again, concussion.  Read more of this post

Pain Management in Athletes: A Conversation with South Africa’s Wayne Derman

Wayne E. Derman MBChB BSc (Med)(Hon) PhD, of Stellenbosch University, South Africa

Our guest for our newest podcast is Wayne E. Derman MBChB BSc (Med)(Hon) PhD.

Dr. Derman was the Guest Editor of our September 2018 CJSM, which was a thematic issue focusing on pain management in athletes.  He hails from South Africa, where he is Director and Chair of the Institute of Sport and Exercise Medicine, at the Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, Stellenbosch University. Dr. Derman does research in Sports Medicine, Rehabilitation Medicine and Cardiology and lectures widely around the world.

If you have not heard him speak, now is your chance. We had an exciting discussion about the challenges of pain management (and the challenges of guest editorship) which we have entitled:

No pain no gain? NO WAY!

Take a listen to this episode, and all of our podcasts, at the CJSM link on iTunes or on the journal’s home page on the web.  Then consider reading Dr. Derman’s lead editorial, or any number of the published studies in the thematic issue, and share your thoughts which him or us on Twitter: @wderman @cjsmonline.

Dr. John Orchard on pain management in elite athletes: The CJSM Podcast

Dr. John Orchard, Chief Medical Officer of Cricket Australia (and so much more)

The September 2018 CJSM is a thematic issue on an issue of central importance in sport and exercise medicine:  the management of pain in the athletes we serve.

Many authors contributed to this special issue, with only a few more prolific than our guest on today’s podcast: John Orchard MBBS BA PhD MD.  Dr. Orchard was a contributing author on three of the original articles included in this issue:

Dr. Orchard is a wonderful interview, and so I hope you get to listen in — as ever you can go to our journal website to find all of our podcasts or to iTunes. We covered a lot of ground in a short time during our conversation.  Among the stories Dr. Orchard shared with me was one of immediate relevance:  that of Cooper Cronk, rugby league player in the NRL played in that league’s Grand Finale with a fractured scapula (and a local anesthetic injection).

The readers of this blog and the listeners of the podcast should all know that Dr. Orchard is also a wonderful tweeter — one of our profession’s most important ‘follows’ I think. I you don’t already have him on your Twitter list, please find him @DrJohnOrchard and remedy that situation!

Thanks for following us here on the blog, on the podcast, and on our journal’s website.  As ever we appreciate your feedback, and we’d ask you specifically to comment on the podcast on iTunes if you are willing.  We are always interested in improving our content.

Marijuana and Athletic Performance: Help or Hindrance? The CJSM Podcast

In our newest CJSM podcast we tackle the controversial issue of marijuana in sports.

The September 2018 thematic issue, on the management of pain in athletes, includes many unique contributions to this important body of literature.  Indeed, it almost goes without saying that almost all patients I see in my clinic on a daily basis have, as part of their presenting condition, a complaint of pain.  I suspect this is true for you, too. Pain management is one of the most common issues we deal with as sports medicine clinicians.

One of those newly published studies is Cannabis and the health and performance of the elite athlete — it is an excellent discussion about many dimensions of this drug and its varied uses among elite athletes.  Among the conclusions the authors make: “The potential beneficial effects of cannabis as part of a pain management protocol, including reducing concussion-related symptoms, deserve further attention.”

A logical question, when considering use of this drug in the athlete, might be:  what are the potential negative side effects?  Or, for that matter, are there ergogenic effects with which we must be concerned?

In our July 2018 journal, a group of authors tackled these issues in a systematic review on marijuana and its effects on athletic performance.

Mr. Dion Diep, McMaster University

The corresponding author of the study, Dion Diep, is a medical student at McMaster University in Hamilton University.  He was able to join us for a podcast discussion of what his team found.  Mr. Diep is our first medical student guest on the podcast, and based on his erudite performance I would say he has a stellar career ahead, as a clinician and a researcher.

We cover a lot of ground in a short time in this podcast.  Can marijuana enhance athletic performance?  What negative effects does it have?  May it show promise as a targeted treatment of various athletic maladies, such as anxiety?  What is the rational for having marijuana on the WADA banned substances list?

As ever you can find this podcast, and all our podcasts, on our journal website as well as iTunes, where you are invited to subscribe to the podcast and ensure you get direct delivery of every new edition of this growing audio library.

When you’re done listening to the podcast and reading the studies, take the time to take the poll and consider leaving a comment here on the blog or on the iTunes link. We’re always looking to hear from you — your contribution to the global conversation on clinical sports medicine is invaluable, and your feedback will help us continuously improve what we share with you.

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Marijuana and Its Effects on Athletic Performance: A Systematic Review

Cannabis and the Health and Performance of the Elite Athlete

 

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