Archive for September, 2011

It Takes Courage to be an Athletic Trainer

Friday, September 30th, 2011

Middle Tennessee State University Athletic Trainer Robbie Stewart, ATC, and football player, Shane Blissard, were nominated for the 2011 Discover Orange Bowl FWAA Courage Award. The recipient of the Courage Award will be announced in December and presented with the trophy in conjunction with this year's Discover Orange Bowl.

Stewart and his staff helped save Blissard from a life-threatening injury during spring practice, and Blissard returned to the field this season. Blissard suffered a ruptured spleen, bruised kidney, a broken rib and a pneumothorax. Due to Stewart’s diligent monitoring of Blissard and quick recognition of the seriousness of the injury, Blissard has made a full recovery and is playing football again. Stewart’s dedication to Blissard is remarkable and really helps the public see the importance of the athletic training profession.

For the sixth straight year, the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA)  and the Discover Orange Bowl will announce a weekly nominee for the Discover Orange Bowl/FWAA Courage Award each Wednesday during the season.

The Courage Award was created by ESPN The Magazine's senior writer Gene Wojciechowski, a FWAA member. A select group of FWAA members vote on the recipient each year. The requirements for nomination include displaying courage on or off the field, including overcoming an injury or physical handicap, preventing a disaster or living through hardship.

Congratulations Robbie on a job well done!

Read more about the story here:

Written by: Paul LaDuke, MSS, ATC, CSCS

Kevin Guskiewicz, ATC, Leading Concussion Research with "Genius Grant"

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Kevin Guskiewicz, PhD, ATC, has been awarded the prestigious MacArthur Grant for his ongoing research on concussions.  The “Genius Grant” of $500,000 will help fund his research for the next 5 years.  Kevin, a BOC Certified Athletic Trainer (AT), has helped to write the Position Statement on Concussions for the NATA and the ACSM.  He also has performed research on NFL players and the correlation between concussions and early cognitive changes.

His work in developing the Balance Error Scoring System (BESS), a cost-effective tool that is widely used in scholastic athletics for diagnosing and managing concussions, is a quick way to assess damage from a head injury. Kevin has suffered from three concussions himself- one while playing football in junior high, and the others as an adult while in a cycling accident and another from a roller coaster ride. 

Kevin’s development of the BESS tool is substantial for those of us in the field. His work and research as an AT has put athletic training in the forefront as a recognized healthcare profession. 

Becker’s Orthopedic, Spine and Pain Management Review Online sums his work up nicely:

Mr. Guskiewicz's research has documented the high correlation between retired National Football League athletes who have suffered multiple concussions during their careers and the early onset of neurodegenerative changes. He and his colleagues have measured the impact of concussions on UNC football players through the use of accelerometers and learned that the location and force of the hit did not necessarily relate to the clinical outcome of the concussion. They also found that head impact data can change a player's behavior by educating them about poor techniques that can predispose them to concussions.

Mr. Guzkiewicz began his career as an AT with the Pittsburgh Steelers and is now the Kenan Distinguished Professor and chair of the department of exercise and sport science at UNC's College of Arts and Sciences. He is also the co-director of the Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center and research director for the Center for the Study of Retired Athletes. 

Congratulations Kevin!

Read more about Kevin and this prestigious award in the Becker’s Orthopedics, Spine and Pain Management Review and CNN Health.

Written by: Paul LaDuke, MSS, ATC, CSCS

Have You Cast Your Vote?

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

It’s election time at the Board of Certification, Inc. (BOC). Take a moment to select a peer to serve in one of the prestigious leadership roles at this time. BOC Certified Athletic Trainers have the responsibility of electing Athletic Trainer Directors who serve on the BOC Board of Directors. Online voting for the next BOC Athletic Trainer Director is open now through October 20, 2011, 11:59pm CT.

Every non-profit organization like the BOC must have a board of directors. But, beyond this legal requirement, a well-informed and well-trained board is absolutely essential. To provide accountability and ensure protection of the public, a nine member volunteer board of directors governs the BOC and includes six Athletic Trainer Directors, one Physician Director, one Public Director and one Corporate/Educational Director. 

BOC Board of Director responsibilities include:

  • Supervision, control and direction of the affairs of the BOC as well as its committees and publications
  • Determination of BOC policies or policy changes
  • Promotion of BOC objectives
  • Supervision over disbursements of BOC funds

The BOC Board of Directors leads transformations in our profession and for the certification.  Now is the time to let your voice be heard.  

Meet the 2011 candidates and check your email for your official ballot code from Survey and Ballot Systems.

Participate in professional responsibility, take action and vote!

Heat Illness Education and the Role of ATs

Friday, September 9th, 2011

Despite advancements in research and education, heightened awareness, modifications in governing body policies such as the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the National Federation of High Schools (NFHS) and the presence of Athletic Trainers (ATs) at more schools, there have been more heat stroke deaths in the past five years than in any other five-year block over the past 35 years, according to Douglas Casa, PhD, ATC, FACSM, FNATA.

Several stories about heat illness were featured in the news throughout the month of August.  Dr. Casa of the Korey Stringer Institute was featured on the Today Show and in the USA Today about exertional heat stroke (EHS) and preventing sudden death in sports. Dr. Casa, has successfully treated more than 140 cases of EHS and has published numerous publications and presentations on the subjects related to exertional heat stroke, heat-related illnesses, preventing sudden death in sport, and hydration. 

According to the Korey Stringer Institute’s (KSI) website, EHS death is one of the leading causes of sudden death in sport. During certain times of the year, it is likely the leading cause of death. Many cases of EHS could be prevented if strategies to enhance the health and safety of athletes i.e., focus on hydration, phase-in programs for heat acclimatization, access to on-site medical care, etc., were improved. Additionally, when an EHS does occur – not all cases could ever be prevented within the confines of athletes performing intense exercise in the heat – proper recognition, treatment and emergency action-plans need to be in place to assure athlete survival.
It is essential for ATs to be knowledgeable in the prevention, recognition, and treatment of EHS

It is crucial to stress that EHS is a true medical emergency.  ATs are one of the first medical professionals on the scene when dealing with EHS, so it is important to Be Certain.™ of the most successful ways to prevent, recognize and treat EHS. Domain 1 of the Role Delineation Study/Practice Analysis, Sixth Edition is Injury/Illness Prevention and Wellness Protection. Educating participants and managing risk for safe performance and function is job ONE for the AT!

Program Directors can use this four-part series as a resource for best practices when educating athletic training students regarding the recognition and treatment of EHS while providing them with the most current and supported knowledge in this area. A new book, written by Dr. Casa called Preventing Sudden Death in Sport and Physical Activity, published in cooperation with the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), is also available and will arm readers with the knowledge and skills they need to make the correct decision when confronted with an emergency situation. Additionally, the Korey Stringer Institute is available to assist.

Coaches, school leadership, parents and legislators must push their states to establish mandatory heat illness guidelines. Most states have inadequate guidelines to help reduce the number of fatalities associated and to provide a critical standard to protect athletes against EHS. Current polices for decreasing the incidence of heat illness are extremely ineffective, and the potential for inappropriate care continues to be a large threat.  To date, according to the KSI, New Jersey is the only state to have adopted the Inter-Association Task Force Guidelines on heat acclimatization for secondary schools in full. View the KSI Heat Acclumatization Guidelines by State.