CJSM and concussions — in the news

As 2020 rolls on and COVID dominates, quite rightly, much of the conversation in sports medicine, important research continues on topics of concern that have been present a lot longer than the novel SARS-CoV-2 virus.

CJSM prides itself on publishing a large number of primary research articles, which often get considerable media buzz. I wanted to share with you today two recent CJSM publications that have caught the attention of the lay press and are likely to have a significant and transformative impact on sports medicine practice.  The two research articles both address a long-standing concern of sports medicine — concussion in sport.

The first such article was published in our March 2020 edition: Distribution of Head Acceleration Events Varies by Position and Play Type in North American Football, a study whose team of authors primarily comes from Purdue University in the United States.  This pilot study contributes to the literature of risk mitigation in contact sport — how might we lower the incidence of concussion in a sport like North American football?  The findings were interesting enough to command the attention of Forbes magazine.

John Miller of the Buffalo Bills demonstrating a ‘2-point’ or ‘up’ stance. Photo Erik Drost, Wikimedia

This study evaluated the number of head acceleration events (HAEs) based on position, play type, and starting stance.  The most significant outcomes were reported for offensive linemen.  Offensive linemen in North American football have typically begun plays in a ‘down’, or what is known as a 3- or 4- point stance, as opposed to an ‘up’ or a 2-point stance. The position taken at the start of the play is sometimes dictated by what type of play, run vs. pass, may be run. Read more of this post

CJSM Journal Club — Nondisclosure of concussion symptoms by athletes

Jason Zaremski MD, au courant with medical clothing styles circa 2020. Go Gators!

Our May 2020 issue has recently published, and as ever our Jr. Assoc. Editor Dr. Jason Zaremski is ready to share his pick for the newest CJSM Blog Journal Club.

Concussion Symptom Underreporting Among Incoming National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I College Athletes is the subject for today’s blog post.

Dr. Zaremski is himself a physician at The University of Florida, well known for its Division 1 College Athletic program, the Florida Gators. Whether we treat collegiate athletes, pros, or children, we in sports medicine ALL have an interest in addressing the issue of concussion nondisclosure.

Thanks to the authors for this timely study, and thanks to Dr. Zaremski for your ongoing contributions in this journal club.

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Jason Zaremski, MD

Introduction:  As we enter the early stages of the summer and approach a “new normal” with regards to sports, it is incumbent upon sports medicine team physicians to be vigilant as we bring freshman athletes to college campuses with potentially different methods to screen and perform pre-participation physical examinations. While dealing with the new challenges COVID will pose, including the possibility of conducting assessments remotely, clinicians will need, as always, to obtain accurate historical information in order to care for our student-athletes. With that in mind, we present the May 2020 Journal Club on Concussion Symptom Underreporting Among Incoming National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I College Athletes by Dr Fiona Conway and colleagues.

Purpose: To examine concussion knowledge and the relationship of knowledge to reasons for concussion symptom nondisclosure in NCAA Division one incoming athletes. Read more of this post

Concussions take time — CJSM Blog Post Journal Club

Our Jr. Assoc. Editor Jason Zaremski MD looking for some help from a friend with the newest CJSM Blog Post Journal Club

Our March 2020 issue has just published, and right out of the gate one of the studies that has received the most buzz is one from a team of researchers in New Zealand demonstrating that less than 50% of concussed individuals recover within two weeks of a sports-related concussion.

Jason Zaremski, MD, CJSM’s Jr. Assoc. Editor, explores this new study today in our most recent CJSM Blog post Journal Club.  It is a two year prospective study with some revealing findings. We’re sure you will enjoy the blog post and the study itself!

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Jason Zaremski MD

Kara S, et al. Less Than Half of Patients Recover Within 2 Weeks of Injury After a Sports-Related Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: A 2-Year Prospective Study. Clin J Sport Med 2020;30:96–101. doi.org/10.1097/JSM.0000000000000811.

Introduction:  Sports related concussion (SRC) is a common and significant concern, challenging not only sports medicine practitioners, but also athletes, coaches, family members, and all sports performance team members. While diagnostic skills and research in this area have dramatically improved in the past 10 years, our patients still have several questions, including: How long until I can go back and play? Some data has suggested the majority of SRC patients recover in approximately a 2-4 week recovery time frame. According to the consensus statement in concussion in sport (5th iteration) held in Berlin, Germany, in October 2016—“the expected duration of symptoms in children with SRC is up to 4 weeks.” (McCrory, et al. BJSM 2017).  Kara and colleagues  have looked into the validity of this stated time frame.

Purpose: To describe clinical recovery time and factors that could impact recovery after a sports-related mild traumatic brain injury (SR-mTBI, aka “concussion”).

Methods/Design:  This is a prospective cohort study with level IV evidence. Read more of this post

Prescribed Exercise for Managing Concussions — the CJSM Blog Journal Club

Our Editor-in-Chief Chris Hughes (R) and Jr. Assoc. Editor Jason Zaremski (L) taking a brief spell from their busy lives.

Our fifth edition of the year went live at the beginning of September, and it’s a special one:  we have devoted the entire issue to the theme of pediatric athletes.

Our guest editor Alison Brooks M.D., M.P.H. has assembled an impressive line up of authors, including John Leddy M.D. of SUNY Buffalo who is the lead on an interesting new study demonstrating the benefits of prescribed aerobic exercise in the recovery of adolescent males from sport-related concussion.

Our Jr. Assoc. Editor Jason Zaremski M.D. has submitted another insightful journal club piece looking at the details of Dr. Leddy’s study.

As fall approaches in the Northern Hemisphere, and spring in the Southern, sports-related concussions will continue to show up in a variety of sports our young athletes play.  This work from Dr. Leddy et al. (including both this new study and his CJSM 2018 study) will be transformative in the way we manage our athletes.

Enjoy the original research paper itself (here) and the journal club article (below).

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Jason Zaremski M.D., Junior Associate Editor CJSM

Title:

Leddy JJ, et al. A Preliminary Study of the Effect of Early Aerobic Exercise Treatment for Sport-Related Concussion in Males. Clin J Sport Med 2019 29(5):353-360.

Introduction:  

As the temperature begins to change and we enter the fall season, millions of student-athletes have returned to school and sport. With such large participation numbers in sport inevitably comes a rise in injury. One of these injuries is sports related concussions (SRC). In recent years, our overall knowledge of how to diagnose, manage, and treat SRC has improved thanks to the ever-growing research in this area. However, one aspect that is continuing to evolve is the timing and intensity of physical activity after sustaining a SRC. While rest (cognitive and physical) has been a mainstay of treatment in the past, there is a growing body of research that indicates physical activity may accelerate recovery versus physical rest only. Thus, it is our pleasure to provide this month’s CJSM Journal Club by reviewing Leddy and colleagues’ new work on the effects of early aerobic exercise as a potential treatment for SRC in adolescent males.

Purpose/Hypothesis(es):

The primary purposes of this research is to compare early subthreshold aerobic exercise (STAE) versus prescribed rest and days to recovery from concussion for adolescent males. The authors hypothesized that STAE would reduce the days to recovery after treatment prescription. Read more of this post

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