Safety & Security: Athlete Safety
Blog: Every Athlete Deserves a Certified Athletic Trainer
by Mike Hopper, Guest Contributor March 2014
Youth sports injuries seem to continue to pile up. Unfortunately so do the fatalities. In recent years, we’ve heard about many football players who have died after suffering brain trauma. We’ve heard reports of athletes who have died of sudden cardiac death. And we’ve heard of athletes dying of heat illnesses such as exertional heat stroke or sickle cell anemia. In response to that, there have been significant regulations in the way of law or league policies for these various cases.
NATA Kicks Off 5th Annual Youth Sports Safety Summit
by Emily Attwood March 2014
Source: National Athletic Trainers Association
WASHINGTON, March 10, 2014 – In its continued effort to address appropriate safety measures for youth athletes, the National Athletic Trainers’ Association hosted today the fifth annual Youth Sports Safety Summit in Washington, D.C.
The event built upon the success of the NATA-founded Youth Sports Safety Alliance and its prior summits. The Alliance, comprising nearly 150 organizations, is committed to preventing catastrophic injury and illness in youth athletes. The program will culminate with visits to legislators on Capitol Hill on March 11.
“This year, we were all challenged to rethink student athlete safety from an accountability, liability, advocacy and best practice perspective,” says NATA president Jim Thornton, MA, ATC, CES. “We are seeing a decline in youth sports participation due to safety concerns, while at the same time we know highly competitive athletes may not report injuries in order to stay in the game. Finding that right balance and culture shift was an integral part of this summit’s dialogue and outcome,” he said.
More than 7.7 million high school athletes participated in school sports during the 2012-2013 academic year with an estimated 46.5 million children playing team sports annually in the U.S. An estimated 1.35 million children were seen in an emergency department for sports-related injuries in 2012.
As a result of the National Action Plan for Sports Safety introduced at last year’s Summit, Congress introduced House Resolution 72 (H. Res. 72), the Secondary School Student Athletes’ Bill of Rights. It addresses the important rights of young athletes when participating in secondary school sports programs. The plan is an educational initiative to improve sports safety, achieve appropriate medical care in secondary schools, understand the potential risks, and at the same time, bring to light the many benefits of playing sports. Recently, a companion bill has been introduced in the Senate. S.Res. 372 hopes to accomplish the same goals as the House version.
To review the plan and Bill of Rights, please visit: http://www.youthsportssafetyalliance.org/summits/national-sports-safety-action-plan
Summit topics ranged from risk management for administrators to new research and recommendations on high school sports safety including concussions, pre-participation exams, mental health and the athlete and highlights of a new benchmark study that addressed appropriate medical care in today’s secondary school setting. Afternoon discussions included athletic administration, as well as best practices in awareness and training; on the field; and advocacy. NATA advanced released a new position statement on the management of sport concussion that will be published in the March Journal of Athletic Training, NATA’s scientific publication. To review the statement please visit: http://dx.doi.org/10.4085/1062-6050-49.1.07.
“We’ve taken youth sports safety to a new level of awareness,” added Thornton. “Each participant is now empowered to share this important learning with the coaches, legislators, family members, school administrators, medical professionals and others who work with and influence our student athletes and can help ensure their physical and emotional health on the playing field.”
Nationally Acclaimed Speakers Address Trends, New Research and Liability Issues
The Summit, held at the Westin City Center Washington, DC, included a full program of presentations featuring some of the country’s leading youth sports safety medical experts and advocates. Thornton opened the program and was followed by Brian Hainline, MD, chief medical officer, NCAA, who addressed accountability and transparency in intercollegiate athletics. Tom Farrey, director of the Aspen Institute’s Sports & Society Program and an ESPN enterprise reporter, served as a school administration panel moderator. Other speakers included:
Steven Broglio, PhD, ATC, director, NeuroSport Research Laboratory, University of Michigan, highlighted a new position statement on concussion management; Douglas J. Casa, PhD, ATC, FACSM, FNATA, Korey Stringer Institute, University of Connecticut, provided an overview of the adoption of guidelines and rules by state; Dawn Comstock, PhD, Colorado School of Public Health at University of Colorado, Denver, discussed recent research trends and scientific findings on the youth sports safety front; Timothy Liam Epstein, JD, partner, SmithAmundsen law firm, addressed liability and risk management; Neeru Jayanthi, MD, associate professor of Family Medicine and Orthopaedic Surgery & Rehabilitation, Loyola Stritch School of Medicine and board member, American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, spoke about preparticipation exams; Laura Long and Samantha Sanderson, co-founders, Concussion Connection, offered the athletes’ perspective; Timothy Neal, MS, ATC, assistant director of athletics for sports medicine, Syracuse University, talked about mental health and the athlete; and Riana Pryor, MS, ATC, director of research, Korey Stringer Institute, addressed the status of recent research of high school athletic training services.
Case histories, additional speaker information or interviews are available upon request. For more information please visit: www.nata.org or www.youthsportssafetyalliance.org.
March is National Athletic Training Month with the theme “We’ve Got Your Back.”
About NATA: National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA)
Athletic trainers are health care professionals who specialize in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries and sport-related illnesses. They prevent and treat chronic musculoskeletal injuries from sports, physical and occupational activity, and provide immediate care for acute injuries. Athletic trainers offer a continuum of care that is unparalleled in health care. The National Athletic Trainers' Association represents and supports 39,000 members of the athletic training profession. Visit www.nata.org.
About the Youth Sports Safety Alliance
Since 2010, the Youth Sports Safety Alliance has worked to raise awareness, advance legislation and improve medical care for young athletes across the country. High school athletes suffer 2 million injuries, 200,000 doctor visits and 30,000 hospitalizations every year. The alliance is committed to reducing those numbers and improving the health and safety of our young athletes. The YSSA was founded by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association and now includes nearly 150 member organizations. Visit: www.youthsportssafetyalliance.org.
Proposed Law Sets Cardiac Arrest Prevention Protocols
by Michael Gaio March 2014
More than 2,000 teenagers die from sudden cardiac arrest in the U.S. each year, according to the Connecticut Post. And now the state of Connecticut is trying to do its part to limit that number, particularly in high school student-athletes.
High School Athletic Trainers Key in Concussion Management
by Dennis Van Milligen February 2014
Spring Hill (Kan.) High School senior Nathan Stiles had just scored a 65-yard touchdown when he began grasping his helmet and screaming that his head hurt. He collapsed near his team’s sideline and died just days before his 18th birthday. He died of a brain hemorrhage, which doctors determined was caused by a concussion one month earlier. His autopsy revealed Stiles had chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a degenerative brain disease commonly associated with retired football players and boxers.
Study Shows Concussion Risk 'Dependent on Helmet'
by Michael Gaio February 2014
As of today, football season is officially over. But research into protecting the game's players has no offseason. A new study published by the Journal of Neurosurgery says the risk of suffering a concussion after a head injury may be dependent on what type of helmet a player is wearing.
Contact Sports Don't Cause CTE, Study Says
by Michael Gaio January 2014
Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), the disease at the center of the NFL's concussion controversy, is a progressive, debilitating neurological disease found in people with a history of repetitive brain trauma. CTE can cause memory loss, confusion, depression and eventually dementia in those who suffer from it. It was the main topic in the popular PBS Frontline documentary, League of Denial: The NFL's Concussion Crisis.
Play Super Bowl Concussed? Most Players Say 'Yes'
by Nick Daniels January 2014
Most NFL players would do almost anything for a chance at a Super Bowl ring — including play with a serious injury.
ESPN’s NFL Nation reported Monday 85 percent — or 272 of the 320 NFL players polled — said they would play in the Super Bowl, even if they had a concussion.
Guarding Athletic Locker Rooms Against MRSA
by Dawn Shoemaker January 2014
While there have been reports of outbreaks of MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) in hospitals and medical facilities for decades, those who contracted the disease were often older people or people with significantly weakened immune systems, leaving many athletic facility operators with their own false sense of immunity. However, the affliction of three otherwise healthy players for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this past fall, as well as five cases, including two student-athletes, reported in the Northville (Mich.) Public School District have shaken that mindset and have many athletic facility operators reevaluating their cleaning procedures.
CrossFit Community Rallies Around Paralyzed Athlete
by Emily Attwood January 2014
The CrossFit community was shaken earlier this week when one of its members was severely injured in what is being described as a freak accident. During a competition in California, Kevin Ogar, a trainer with CrossFit Unbroken in Englewood, Colo., severed his spine while doing a lift, leaving him permanently paralyzed from the waist down.
Tips for Maintaining and Replacing Weight Room Flooring
by Dennis Van Milligen January 2014
When the University of Oregon formally unveiled its new $68 million football performance center, the Hatfield-Dowlin Complex, last summer, it redefined athletic luxury on the collegiate level. Designed by Portland-based ZGF Architects LLP, amenities include a players lounge with Italian leather furniture, rugs hand-woven in Nepal and customized gaming systems; a space-age locker room that requires a biometric thumbprint to enter; and a 25,000-square-foot weight room fortified with Brazilian Ipe wood floors. Environmentally friendly, this type of flooring is mold-, fire-, weather- and pest-resistant, and its strength is comparable to that of steel.