Posts Tagged ‘football’

Training Program Reduces ACL Injuries in Young Athletes

A good friend of mine’s son is backing playing Ultimate frisbee, having torn up his knee last spring playing Freshman football in high school.

Reconstructive surgery repaired Sam’s two torn knee ligaments, including the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), a critical ligament that stabilizes the knee joint.

ACL injuries are quite common among young athletes and have become more prevalent over the past decade as more youngsters participate in sports such as football, soccer, volleyball, and basketball, which are hard on the knees.college football concussions

Recent research has found that screening tools, such as “hop” or isokinetic (computer/video) tests to identify neuromuscular deficits, may identify athletes more likely to suffer ACL injuries.

Biomechanical studies have led to the development of neuromuscular training programs to improve neuromuscular control and reduce ACL injury rates.

Now research led by doctors from New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center has found that universal neuromuscular training — which focuses on the optimal way to bend, jump, land, and pivot the knee — is an effective and inexpensive way for young athletes to avoid ACL sprains and tears.

The researchers reported their results at the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons annual meeting on March 14, 2014.

The research team evaluated 3 strategies for young athletes: no training or screening, universal neuromuscular training, and universal screening with neuromuscular training only for identified high-risk athletes.

Risk of injury, risk reduction from training, and sensitivity and specificity of screening were based on published data from clinical trials.

Costs of training and screening programs were estimated based on existing literature.

Using a model based on data from recent clinical trials, the researchers evaluated a hypothetical group of student athletes ages 14 to 22.

They found that universal training reduced the incidence of ACL injury on average by 63% while the screening program reduced the incidence rate on average by 40%.

Of 10,000 athletes, the model predicted 300 ACL injuries in the no-screening group, 110 in the universal training group, and 180 in the universal training/screening for “at risk” group.

What’s more, by reducing the risk of ACL injury universal training would save an average of $275 per player per season.

“While we were not surprised that training was more cost effective than no intervention, we were impressed by the magnitude of the benefit,” said lead researcher Dr. Eric Swart, an orthopedic resident at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center.

“According to our model, training was so much less expensive and so much more effective than we anticipated.

In addition, fewer players injured means fewer surgical reconstruction procedures, which also saves money.”

He believes that widely implementing a universal training strategy could actually pay for itself in terms of injuries prevented and surgeries avoided.

And that’s doesn’t include saving youngsters from the pain and anguish of recovering from major surgery.

Neuromuscular training may be too late for Sam, who continues to do physical therapy to strengthen his leg muscles to support his rebuilt knee.

But thousands of other young athletes could certainly benefit from better training to avoid devastating knee injuries.

Most Dads With Football-Related Concussions Want Young Sons Playing Tackle Football

Despite increasing awareness about concussion dangers for young athletes, a new national survey reveals 90% of men who played tackle football at the high school level or higher who suffered or suspected they suffered a concussion want their sons to play tackle football.

Not only that, nearly half (43%) believe there is too much hype over concussions.

Of all football-playing dads polled, 77% say tackle football is safe for children under age 12 even though more than 3 in 5 of these dads suffered a concussion themselves during their playing days.

And even more surprising, dads say most moms (61%) agree with them that tackle football is safe for young athletes.

The survey of 300 dads who played tackle football at the high school level or higher, was commissioned by the non-profit arm of i9 Sports, the nation’s first and fastest growing youth sports franchise.

Other survey results show:

• 53% of football dads say kids who play tackle sometimes think getting a concussion “is cool” or “a status symbol” that means you are “tough and play hard.”

• More than 1 in 3 football dads (36%) say their son’s competitive youth sports coach (any sport) is more interested in a win over safe play.

• Almost 1 in 5 football dads (19%) say despite concussion awareness, there have been no noticeable changes to the policies and procedures of youth sports.

“The startling results of this survey show even though concussion awareness is permeating youth sports today, often parents, young players and even coaches don’t heed the warnings,” says Brian Sanders, COO and President of i9 Sports, which has more than 550,000 members at 275 locations across the country.

“It’s scary to us that dads who suffered concussions encourage their young sons to play tackle football at a young age.

Studies show a concussion can be more dangerous for young athletes because their brains are still developing.”

To help ensure the health and safety of young athletes, the Centers for Disease Control has developed the “Heads Up: Concussion in Youth Sports” initiative to offer information about concussions to coaches, parents, and athletes involved in youth sports.

The Heads Up initiative provides important information on preventing, recognizing, and responding to a concussion.

“Because we’re getting better at recognizing the symptoms, we are seeing more kids come into our clinics who’ve been hit in the head and are complaining of concussion symptoms,” said Steevie Carzoo, ATC, a certified athletic trainer with Sports Medicine at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

To make sure concussions are handled properly by everyone involved in a child’s life, experts at Nationwide Children’s Hospital have developed one of the first, most comprehensive concussion toolkits available.

At a single internet site, there is information for everyone from athletes to parents, from teachers and counselors, to coaches and school administrators.

Children and teens are more likely to get a concussion, and take longer to recover, than adults.

Their symptoms may appear mild, but the injury can lead to significant time lost from school and even impairment that affects memory, behavior, learning, and emotions.

Appropriate diagnosis, management, and education are critical for helping young athletes with a concussion recover quickly and fully.

Teenage Concussions: When In Doubt, Sit it Out

Teenage boys who play football suffer more concussions than any other high school athletes, but girls who play soccer and basketball, and boys who wrestle, play ice hockey or lacrosse also are at risk of head injury.

Nearly half (47%) of concussions among high school athletes happen on the football field, according to a new study published in the January issue of American Journal of Sports Medicine.

This data comes from a large, national sample of US high schools who reported injury data for 20 sports during the 2008-2010 academic years.

“Although interest in sports-related concussions is usually focused on full-contact sports like football and ice hockey, concussions occur across a wide variety of high school sports,” conclude the authors from the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, OH, led by researcher Natalie McIlvain.

Most of the head injuries happened when players collided with each other, but even some children in non-contact sports, such as softball, gymnastics, cheerleading and swimming, suffered blows to the head.

Girls having a 70% higher concussion rate than boys in “gender-comparable” sports.

It’s not clear why, but it may have to do with lesser neck strength among girls, said Christy Collins, a senior research associate at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

“The real danger is returning to play too soon,” Collins says.

To prevent concussions, young athletes should learn to play by the rules of the game and be in good physical shape when they start playing, writes Jane Gillett, MD, in Brainline

“Someone who is unable to keep up with the pace of the game is more likely to get hurt,” writes Gillett.

“And practicing the skills of the game in a non-competitive manner through drills and structured workouts help athletes hone the necessary skills like being aware of where others are in play, where the ball is, and ways to improve balance, mobility, and hand/eye coordination.

Another important component is to teach your young athlete sportsmanship.

That means not to take things said or done as a personal attack and not to respond to an aggressive act by becoming more aggressive themselves.

Being a role model in ‘turning the other cheek’ will help demonstrate this behavior.”

The coach should also be aware of the signs and symptoms of a concussion — being dazed, confused, stunned, or even experiencing a brief loss of consciousness, according to Gillett.

Other symptoms include headache, dizziness, and transitory memory loss of the event or of events earlier that day.

“The coach should then keep the player out of the game and future games until the effects of the concussion are truly gone … and only with an official doctor’s note of approval,” writes Gillett.

“For players, coaches, and parents, the philosophy to remember is: when in doubt, sit it out.”