Archive for March, 2015

Heads Up Football

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

By Tim Koba, ATC

There is some good news regarding the safety of youth football. Coaches who have completed the Heads Up Football training program, developed by USA Football, have decreased concussions on their teams compared to untrained coaches.

Since concussions, and especially concussions in football, are such a big concern right now, it is great to see that there is some training being done to address the issue. The program emphasizes proper heads up tackling technique using the shoulder to make contact and wrapping up the opponent. This has led to a decrease in head to head collisions and fewer head contacts during the season.

By learning the proper technique at a young age and being coached consistently in that technique, athletes will develop fewer injuries and continue to play over time. If more youth leagues adopted this or similar training programs for their coaches, it could be a step toward decreasing concussions in football.

The researchers also discovered a direct link between coaching behavior and player safety. The coaches who had received additional training and incorporated those techniques into their practices had decreased rates of injury. If the correlation exists across sports, then developing educational program for coaches can have far reaching effects on reducing player injuries in many sports.

Hopefully, more research is performed evaluating the effectiveness of this type of training on decreasing concussions and injuries in general. Based on the current information, it should be incorporated into the educational curriculum for football coaches at any level.

Managing Hamstring Strains

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

By Tim Koba, ATC

Hamstring injuries are one of the most common injuries in sports. Time lost from competition can be substantial, and there is a high risk for re-injury.

One of the reasons that the hamstring is so susceptible to injury is that it crosses both the hip and knee joints. During running, the hamstring works to decelerate the knee at ground contact and then assist the glutes to accelerate the hip into extension. This change in function is believed to be one of the reasons that the hamstring is injured.

Risk factors for injury include a previous hamstring injury and weakness in the hamstrings.

Currently, there is a lack of systematic research on effective hamstring prevention, treatment and rehabilitation programs. Stretching has not been shown to decrease injury risk, and our current knowledge on prevention has been primarily performed on soccer athletes utilizing Russian/Nordic hamstring exercise as an eccentric training technique. This exercise has been effective in reducing the rates of hamstring strains in soccer athletes. However, due to the eccentric action of the exercises, it does cause DOMS, so starting a program should be progressed accordingly. While not studied for prevention, Romanian deadlifts activate the hamstrings eccentrically, and they can be an adjunct to a prevention program.

If a hamstring is strained, the location can affect the time lost from competition. Proximal hamstring injuries, avulsions and larger lesions all increase the time to heal. If you have access to a physician doing corticosteroid injections, this can assist in decreasing the healing time without an increased risk for re-injury.

Rehabilitation of hamstring injuries follows the same guidelines as other rehab programs including decreasing pain and inflammation; restoring range of motion and neuromuscular control; and strengthening and progressing to higher speed and higher functioning sport specific drills. A more holistic rehab program focusing on core stability, hip strengthening and neuromuscular control is more effective than an isolated strengthening and stretching program in return to sport and re-injury rates. Adding in eccentric exercises in the late strength phases can assist with injury prevention as well as incorporating agility and running drills to improve proprioception and stride mechanics.

While the evidence for the most effective treatment of hamstring injuries continues to be developed, we know that eccentric training is beneficial at preventing initial strains and recurrent strains. The added benefit of eccentric hamstring strengthening is that they can also help decrease ACL injuries in certain populations.

What have you found to be effective in preventing and rehabbing hamstrings?

Planting the Seeds for Athletic Training Awareness

Monday, March 16th, 2015

By: Cherie Trimberger

BOC Communications Coordinator

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” This is the question posed to children by adults from a very early age into young adulthood.

Often children will respond with professions they hear about, see on TV or interact with on a daily basis including police officer, teacher, firefighter or doctor to name a few.  But how do you give a name and face to the athletic training profession?

In the new children’s book, “Do you want to be an Athletic Trainer?” author Marsha L Grant-Ford and contributor Jonathan Ford help to plant the seeds of athletic training awareness in children by offering a glimpse into the exciting world of the certified Athletic Trainer (AT).  This non-fiction book includes descriptions of ATs who work with doctors to keep active people healthy.  ATs are featured in businesses, hospitals, physician offices, sports teams and the rodeo.  The book also mentions ATs working in the military, law enforcement, NASCAR and NASA.

With its colorful pictures and detailed descriptions, children are given a face and name to the ATs they see in their daily lives.  Professional tasks are introduced and explained in captions including patient education; taping and bracing; orthopedic and general medical examination; therapeutic interventions; emergency skills and concussion management.  This book is just one way for children to see a realistic view of the importance of ATs in keeping active children and adults healthy at work and at play.

For more information or to purchase a copy, please visit the following link.

Rehabilitation for Patellofemoral Syndrome

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

By Tim Koba, ATC

There was a new article published in the Journal of Athletic Training that compared the outcomes of two separate treatment protocols on patellofemoral syndrome (PFS).

The potential patients were screened and then enrolled in either a hip strengthening protocol or knee strengthening protocol. Patients met with the Athletic Trainer three times a week for six weeks and were instructed to do their home exercises six times a week.

At the end of the six weeks, both groups showed improvement in pain and dysfunction associated with PFS. The hip strengthening group had resolution in symptoms prior to the knee group, but the overall improvement was not statistically significant.

Adopting a hip or knee strengthening program, or a combination of both, is an effective way to treat PFS. For a link to the article click here.

What protocols do you currently employ?