Archive for February, 2017

Make a Life-Saving Decision: Become an Organ and Tissue Donor

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

Posted February 23, 2017

By Mackenzie Simmons, ATC

National Donor Day was February 14th, and the main purpose is to raise awareness for organ, eye, tissue, marrow, platelet and blood donation. In addition, the day aims to recognize those who have donated organs, have received a donation or are currently waiting for an organ transplant. It is important to know that all people, regardless of age or medical history, are eligible to become a potential donor. It is also essential to encourage all members of the community to become organ donors because transplant success tends to be better when organs are matched between persons of the same ethnic or racial background.

Here are some important statistics about organ donation:

1. There are currently 119,000 people who are awaiting lifesaving organ transplants

2. In the United States, 8,000 deaths occur every year due to organs not being donated in time

3. By becoming a donor, you can:

- Save up to 8 lives if you donate your organs

- Restore eyesight in 2 people if you donate your cornea

- Heal up to 75 people if you donate your tissue

4. 683,000 transplants have occurred since 1988

5. In 2016, 33,600 transplants took place; this is an 8.5% increase from 2015

There are several ways for you to donate. First and foremost, you can register to be a donor, which can be done online or at your local DMV. Another way to support organ donation is to offer financial support to Donate Life America to help save lives in future.

One of the best ways to raise money for Donate Life America is to create a fundraising page, in memory of a loved one or in honor of a life event. Educating others on the importance of organ donation can help bring awareness to the issue; educational resources are available on www.donatelife.net. Lastly, as an individual, you can take steps to avoid the need for an organ transplant or donation. By visiting your doctor once a year, exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet, you are taking steps to reduce the chances of being on the organ donation list.

Resources

https://www.donatelife.net/

 

2017 NFL Pro Bowl Concussion Symposium and Health Screening

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

Desi Rotenberg
MS, ATC

Posted February 21, 2017

Desi Rotenberg, MS, ATC

The 2017 NFL Pro Bowl is a tradition that stems back to its inception in 1938. While the teams have changed drastically since then, the NFL Pro Bowl has become a tradition of competitive fun and entertainment for players, NFL front offices and fans. 2017 was the first year since 1980 (minus 2009) that the game was held within the continental United States. This venue change hoped to bring more fans, more attention and enhanced exposure of the game itself.

One of the attention grabbers for me during the Pro Bowl weekend occurred off the field. This year, The University of Central Florida (UCF) hosted the 2017 Pro Bowl Concussion Symposium and Health Screening. The purpose of this symposium was two-fold. First, retired NFL players were invited to partake in health screenings for free to help identify any neurological, cardiovascular or other issues plaguing them due to their playing time in the league. Second, the NFL Players Association partnered with the UCF Psychology Department to present all of the latest research and treatment options related to concussions in the world of sports, and more specifically, the game of football.

Here are a few of the highlights:

Following the U.S. Supreme Court settlement regarding previous NFL players and head injuries, the science has gained a significant amount of traction. As new empirical data emerges and technology continues to develop, more funding is becoming available to allow athletes to have increased access to neurological assessment and professional evaluation following head trauma. Interestingly, the Supreme Court settlement included a 65-year plan that will give retired NFL players and their families financial support if they experience symptoms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), dementia or any other life-altering behaviors or symptoms that may arise secondary to traumatic brain injury.

Furthermore, baseline testing is being made available to all retired NFL players and will be done immediately upon retirement. This will allow the players’ medical teams to identify any behavioral, cognitive or neurological changes that may arise over the remainder of the individual’s life.

The overarching goal is to have every college, high school and middle school offer some form of baseline testing in at least one sport for all student athletes. We are slowly, but surely, making our way towards that goal. However, there still remains room for improvement when it comes to baseline testing.

The areas of deficiency that were identified was a lack of baseline testing within recreational sports and ease of administration within middle schools and high schools. If we want to ensure the safety of all athletes, we must do what we can to have concussion education, a concussion protocol and return to play protocol in place.

At the academic levels, we must also ensure that we have a return to learn protocol in place. The question that acts as a defense for medical professionals responsible for the return to play decision is, “If you cannot learn new information, should you be returning to play?”

Emerging Technology

To this point, there are 2 questions that remain: 1) How do we diagnose Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy prior to death, and 2) How do we avoid the high cost of imaging when it comes to concussion diagnostics?

There is by no means an answer to the first question as of yet, but I am hopeful due to the emergence of Diffuse Tensor Imaging (DTI). DTI has been around for roughly 20 years and has been mainly used in the diagnosis of strokes and other ischemic disorders of the brain.1 Within the past 10 years, research has shown that DTI can also be used to assess the integrity of the white matter in the brain.2 The goal of physicians at the symposium was to make DTI more streamlined and allow patients access to this form of diagnostic following head trauma.

In the image below, the varying colors represent the orientation of various white matter within the brain. In the second image, neurological specialists have the ability to zoom in on a specific location and can visualize a physical abnormality or disruption in neuronal activation due to a disturbance in neuronal integrity.

Images Obtained from Journal of Neuroradiology

So how do we lower the cost of imaging?

We start by locating private medical companies that offer this type of imaging. There were several speakers at the symposium who owned businesses that focused on the neurological diagnosis and treatment of individuals who suffered traumatic head injuries. The businesses offer consultations and diagnostics at a fraction of the cost of normal imagining techniques.

Cognitive and Behavioral Effects of Head Trauma 

Neuropsychologists want to make one thing very clear to all health practitioners: There is no such thing as the average TBI patient. While there are several concussion treatment protocols, it is paramount that each case be treated on an individual basis according to the needs of the patient and the underlying symptoms present. Cognitive changes following head trauma occur on a varying spectrum, and can include, but are not limited to: changes in vigilance, reaction time, mental tracking, verbal retrieval, mood and information processing.

Common symptoms that can be seen are the emergence of anxiety, depression, inability to focus and difficulty sleeping. Each symptom can lead to frustration, impatience and social disconnect. There is one congruity with all of these cognitive and behavioral changes: a concussion is a physiologic injury of the brain, where normal cerebral flow has been altered and the normal “algorithm” of information input and output has been compromised.

Unfortunately, head injuries cannot be cured; however, there is hope for individuals seeking refuge from this life-alerting injury. There are many clinics that exist, such as the UCF Psychology Clinic that can help patients learn to cope with the inhibiting effects of head trauma. Treatments include consultations with neuropsychologists, who walk patients through cognitive rehabilitative exercises and various forms of talk therapy. These treatments can help an individual compensate for the mental, emotional or physical deficiency that has arisen. The goal of treatment is to help the individual learn how to live within this new reality, and how to improve their overall quality of life.

The central message of the symposium is concussion research and concussion management are constantly changing. Unfortunately, policy change happens at an even slower rate. Due to this constant evolution, this is a topic All medical, fitness and cognitive specialists need to stay up to date on this topic due emerging information and the constant evolution of the topic. This can be accomplished by staying up to date on the latest research and emerging trends, in order to be able to follow “best practices” and avoid liability.

Resources

1. Hagmann, P., Jonasson, L., Maeder, P., Thiran, J. P., Wedeen, V. J., & Meuli, R. (2006). Understanding diffusion MR imaging techniques: from scalar diffusion-weighted imaging to diffusion tensor imaging and beyond 1. Radiographics, 26(suppl_1), S205-S223.

2. Le Bihan, D., Urayama, S. I., Aso, T., Hanakawa, T., & Fukuyama, H. (2006). Direct and fast detection of neuronal activation in the human brain with diffusion MRI. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 103(21), 8263-8268.

3. Rutgers, D. R., Toulgoat, F., Cazejust, J., Fillard, P., Lasjaunias, P., & Ducreux, D. (2008). White matter abnormalities in mild traumatic brain injury: a diffusion tensor imaging study. American Journal of Neuroradiology, 29(3), 514-519.

About the Author

Desi Rotenberg, originally from Denver, Colorado, graduated with his bachelor's degree in 2012 from the University of Northern Colorado. He has been a BOC Certified Athletic Trainer since 2012 and earned his master's degree in Exercise Physiology from the University of Central Florida in 2014. He currently is a high school teacher, teaching anatomy/physiology and leadership development. Along with being a teacher, he wears many hats, such as basketball coach, curriculum developer and mentor. He has been a contributor to the BOC Blog since the summer of 2015. 

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NATM in New York City

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

Posted February 8, 2017

By Lauren Stephenson, MA, ATC

“Athletic Trainers Save Lives.”

“Every Body Needs an Athletic Trainer.”

“We’ve Got Your Back.”

“We Prepare You Perform.”

“A Safer Approach to Work, Life & Sport.”

“Your Protection is Our Priority.”

Every March Athletic Trainers (ATs) are dedicated to promoting National Athletic Training Month (NATM) and the athletic training profession. At Stony Brook University (SBU), we began a NATM tradition in 2012 with an inaugural trip to the “TODAY Show” in New York City to help kick-off NATM. The first year, there were a total of 30 students, faculty and staff attending all wearing university attire and carrying signs promoting the NATM slogans.  The trip was a huge success!  We received recognition from the hosts of the show and enjoyed some great group activities. The activities included breakfast at Ellen’s Stardust Diner on Broadway and a visit to the Body Worlds exhibit. The trip made such an impact that we decided to continue the tradition the following year.

In 2013, our group of now almost 50 including alumni (and we thought 2012 was huge), made the very early-morning, and much colder, trek into New York City for another amazing day. Our group filled an entire side of the “TODAY Show” corral with ATs and AT students. We followed this with breakfast at Ellen’s Stardust Diner s and a tour with Jim Ramsay, head AT for the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

With a couple of years’ experience under our belt, we decided to make an even bigger impact in 2014 by inviting our colleagues from all of District 2. This was the biggest success yet with over 200 ATs and AT students lining the entire “TODAY Show” corral.  We held signs with our new NATA logo and were proud to represent all regions of District 2, now this was huge.  Our breakfast at Ellen’s Stardust Diner became a networking event for students from varying institutions. Then, the SBU crew followed that with a custom mouth guard workshop at New York City dental school.

In preparing for our 2015 event, we wanted to make our NATM kick-off tradition have an even greater impact Let’s get the word out that March is National Athletic Training Month! So we decided to not only attend the “TODAY Show”, but to also include the audience of “Good Morning America.” In addition, we invited District 1 to join us. In 2015, we gathered 100 ATs and students at each location and gained recognition from Robin Roberts at “Good Morning America.”  Our breakfast networking continued at Ellen’s Stardust Diner and several schools attended the Body World Exhibit together.

In 2016, we continued this tradition of attending 2 shows and set an all-time record of over 250 ATs and students! After breakfast, the SBU crew enjoyed an amazing experience with performing arts ATand SBU alumnus, Monica Lorenzo, MS, ATC at Radio City Music Hall. Lorenzo is an ATfor The Radio City Rockettes.

2017 marks our sixth year for NATM in New York City. It has become a tradition, not only for SBU, but for many ATs and AT programs in the northeast. We have over 13 institutions throughout Districts 1 and 2 represented and are looking forward to promoting this year’s slogan: “Your Protection is Our Priority.”

Every year we receive snap shots from people watching their TVs all over the US. They are always excited to see friends and colleagues and our NATA logo plastered across their morning news screens.  It has always been our goal to promote our profession. However, our event has evolved into an experience of camaraderie among all those in attendance, sharing an unparalleled experience of professional pride.

Being in New York City, we are lucky we have access to some of the largest morning news shows in the country. However, we recognize that travel to New York City in March is not feasible for ATs across the US. We have found this type of NATM event to be very rewarding, and we hope you join us in seeking out your local morning news show to help promote the athletic training profession in March. Here are some tips for making a successful local event:

1. Find out if your local news station allows visitors for a live audience.

2. If they allow visitors, check in with other local AT programs and ATs to see if they want to attend.

- Local AT associations also can send out a mass email with your contact info.

- The more people the greater the impact.

3. Make a spreadsheet that includes one contact for each interested institution.

4. When you a have general idea of how many will be in attendance, use the NATA PR Toolkit for NATM to create a press release and send it to the news station. You can find the NATA PR Toolkit at  https://www.nata.org/advocacy/public-relations/national-athletic-training-month.

5. Create an itinerary for the day and make sure you arrive very early to get a good spot.

- Be detailed so everyone knows where to go and who to direct questions from the producers to.

- Breakfast or a fun event afterward is always a bonus.

6. If you can’t get a large group together, just get started with your own group and it will grow from there.

If you’re interested in attending NATM in New York City or would like some guidance on starting your own event, please contact lauren.stephenson@stonybrook.edu. You can follow our event on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NATMinNYC  or on the “TODAY Show” or “Good Morning America” on March 3, 2017.

Happy National Athletic Training Month!

 

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