“…like the Oscars, but with concussions.”

Oscars….or Super Bowl? Justin Timberlake — photo Mark Briello, Wikimedia

It would be hard to have spent any time this past month in the United States, my home country, and not be aware that today is “Super Sunday,” when the Philadelphia Eagles and the perennial champion New England Patriots will be playing the final game of the NFL Season.  For all the marbles. For the big kahuna. For (insert your favorite, overused metaphor here).

I woke up this Sunday in my customary manner:  with some coffee and the New York Times. The newspaper had several articles about the upcoming Main Event, including profiles of the halftime highlight, Justin Timberlake.  The story that most resonated with me was a piece by Bruce Weber, whom I find to be an uncommonly funny writer.  He wrote of the Super Bowl’s grandiosity, with its “…pregame blah, blah, blah….the rollout of new advertisements at a cost that might otherwise stabilize Social Security, and the betting line in Vegas, where gamblers risk enough to underwrite a single-payer health care system.”

He summarized:  the Super Bowl is “not so much a ballgame as a happening, like the Oscars but with concussions.”

Spot on.

Eagles or Patriots?  It’s hard to say, though the line favors the Patriots slightly (and most neutral observers with whom I’ve spoken say it’s an, er, no-brainer, the Patriots will be winning) — but one bet that is a sure thing: there will be injuries. And very likely, a high profile concussion, which may or may not be mishandled.

Who can forget the game three years ago (which the Patriots won): Julian Edelman sustained a hit which appeared certain to require medical evaluation, but remained in the game.  And then caught the go-ahead touchdown.

Concussions and gridiron football– the pairing appears in the pages of CJSM nearly every issue, so common is the injury and so prominent the issue.  Our first issue of the year contained cutting-edge, original research on the frequency with which professional football players hide their potential concussions. The article is free, but if you don’t have time to read it, you can even ‘listen in’ on what the author has to say about the study in our most recent podcast.

Super Sunday is upon us. There’s a game, yes, and a whole lot more. Will we see a hologram of Prince? Will Janet Jackson make a reprise showing and sing a duet/have a wardrobe ‘malfunction’ with Timberlake?  What will be the most memorable commercial?

And, oh yes, who will win:  Eagles or Patriots?

Enjoy the game and/or its attendant bells and whistles, if you’ll be watching.  And share your reactions with us on Twitter [@cjsmonline ] if you have thoughts about one of the injuries you’re bound to see.

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“Primary Care for Sweaty People”

Dr. Carl Stanitski with wife & equestrian athlete, Debbie

I am fortunate to be spending my weekend in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, where I am attending the 5th Annual Meeting of the Pediatric Research in Sports Medicine (PRiSM) Society Meeting.  This meeting is becoming a major fixture on the pediatric sports medicine calendar, and I have gained so much by joining this organization and attending the proceedings over the last few years.  If you specialize in pediatric sports medicine, the dates January 24 – 26 2019 (next PRISM meeting in Atlanta, Georgia) should be circled on your calendar.

Among the highlights of the meeting was a keynote talk by Dr. Carl Stanitski, Emeritus Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and Pediatrics at the Medical University of South Carolina.  He, along with other legends like Dr. Lyle Micheli and Dr. Jim Andrews, was a pioneer in pediatric sports medicine in the 1970’s when, as he described it, the initial work being done in this field was derided as ‘primary care for sweaty people.’

My, how this field has grown.  In the USA, the advanced, fellowship training in this discipline has exploded in both the primary care and orthopaedic surgery worlds.In the primary care world alone, there are > 200 programs in operation

Twenty-five years ago, when the field was a lot smaller, Dr. Stanitski and others were already sending up the alarms over increasing sports injury rates seen in young athletes — check out this vintage New York Times article from 1992. The article notes:  “They attribute the rise in such so-called overuse injuries to intensive sports training programs for young children, longer playing seasons and specialty sports camps in which children may spend hours lobbing balls on a tennis court or throwing hundreds of pitches each day.”

Plus ça change….the more things change, they more they stay the same.  These are precisely the issues we still face, 25+ years down the road.  That same sentence in the NY Times could be written today.

CJSM and other journals (JATA, BJSM, AJSM, Sports Health) play major roles in publishing and disseminating the research on the diagnosis, management, treatment and prevention of pediatric sports injuries.  A cursory review of the pages of CJSM over the last few years reveals publications related to pediatric concussions , overuse injuries, and training.

What I walk away from this meeting with, more than ever, is the awareness of how much more we need to go in terms of knowledge translation.  If 25 years ago the leaders in this field were already noting a skyrocketing injury rate, and if there has been a wealth of increasing research in this area, why has the problem only seemed to worsen?

The issue of knowledge translation — of taking the information we researchers produce and we journals publish — is near and dear to the collective hearts of the CJSM editorial board.  As professionals we have to start getting the rubber to meet the road.  One of the reasons why we are so passionate at CJSM about using social media is our goal to spread knowledge widely, to get it in front of the people who can put this into practice.

Join us in this quest by following us on Twitter and Facebook and subscribing to our iTunes podcast feed.

Concussions in Professional Football

It’s a new year and we have a new podcast to add to the growing collection of CJSM podcasts which can be found on our main website [or, better yet, by subscribing to our podcast feed on iTunes].

Our guest this month, J. Scott Delaney M.D., is an Associate Professor and the Research Director, Department of Emergency Medicine, McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) and McGill Sport Medicine Clinic in Montreal, Canada.

Scott Delaney, M.D.

He is also the physician for several university and professional teams, including the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League (CFL).  In that role, he headed research on concussion awareness among professional football players, work that has just been published in the January 2018 issue of CJSM.

The study has already received considerable media exposure as it sheds light, at the highest level of play, on the behavior and motivation of athletes to report possible concussions.

Listen to the podcast conversation we just had with Dr. Delaney.  Find out why, when it comes to concussions, “It takes a village to make the diagnosis.”  And, as ever, join in the emerging conversation about this work by making comments on this blog or going to our Twitter feed and chatting up @CJSMOnLine

 

In the News

CFL Players line up in a Grey Cup Game. Photo: Wikimedia

The year has begun and our first edition of the 2018 journal has published: the January issue marks the beginning of our 28th year focusing on the publication of original research in the field of sports medicine.

One of the highlights of this issue is a study of 454 Canadian Football League (CFL) players:  “Why Professional Football Players Chose Not to Reveal Their Concussion Symptoms During a Practice or Game.”

The lead author of the study, J. Scott Delaney MDCM is an associate professor and research director at the department of emergency medicine, McGill University Health Center, in Montreal Canada.  He has published frequently in CJSM on the topic of concussion, including a 2015 study looking at what factors influenced university athletes to report (or not) symptoms of concussion in practice or games.

In this study, he and his team focused on a different population: professional CFL players. Dr. Delaney is already being approached by media outlets for his opinions on what the study results mean for CFL players in particular, and for all athletes in general. This very day he has an opinion piece published in The Globe and Mail, often considered Canada’s national paper of record.

One of the vexing issues in contemporary sports medicine is the failure of recognition of concussion when it occurs on the field of play.   Read more of this post

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