Concussions Are Common During Sports Practice

New research from the New York Institute of Technology suggests that concussion awareness should be a part of a high school and college athlete’s sports education.

“Practice is the common time when athletes suffer concussions,”  Dr. Hallie Zwibel, researcher and acting director for New York Institute of Technology Center for Sports and Wellness, said in a statement. “For student-athletes, it’s important to know the signs and symptoms of concussion, work on your balance and muscle strength, be aware of where you are in the space of a playing field or court and the actions you’re taking, and of course making sure your helmet fits properly, is well-maintained and is worn correctly.”

According to Zwidel, parents and coaches should know enough about concussions to be able to recognize its symptoms. They should also direct athletes suspected of suffering from a concussion to sit out the rest of a game or match and seek evaluation and treatment within 24 hours.

“A simple set of questions and exams to check mental status, speech, and physical reactions should be done immediately on the field,” he said. “Just because you have an injury to the head, it doesn’t mean it’s a concussion. It could be even more serious — so get seen by a physician for an evaluation.”

That’s where pre-season baseline testing is important.

“We can screen for increased risk factors, such as ADHD or history of a previous concussion,” Zwibel added. “We can test for memory, processing speed, and reaction time — information that’s useful when we have a patient who later suffers a suspected concussion.”

Treatment and rehabilitation has changed greatly since the days when those with concussions were told to simply rest.

“We treat visual issues, balance, cognition, headaches, and sleep disorders that may result from a concussion,” Zwibel said. “Just because someone suffers a concussion, it doesn’t mean there’s nothing we can do. And we look at the student-athlete as a whole. It’s not just getting back in the field — it’s returning to play and returning to learn.”

Source: “Concussions Are Common During Sports Practice.” University Herald RSS. N.p., 31 July 2015. Web. 31 July 2015.

Glen Rock school board updates concussion policy


Amid ongoing health concerns about sports-related head injuries, the Glen Rock Board of Education adopted a revised concussion management policy at its July 6 public meeting.

Citing Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics that at least three million sports and recreation-related concussions occur in the U.S. every year, the policy language states that the “competitive athletic culture of playing through pain or ‘toughing it out’ puts student-athletes at risk of brain injury, disability and death.”

While noting that allowing a student athlete to return to play before recovering from a concussion increases the chance of more serious brain injury, the policy holds that the effects of concussion, while not preventable, can be “mitigated by proper recognition and appropriate response.”

To that end, the BOE policy now stipulates that all coaches, school nurses, school/team physicians and certified athletic trainers must complete an interscholastic head injury training program, such as the National Federation of State High School Association’s online “Concussion in Sports Training” program, or a comparable program that meets mandated criteria.

The chosen program must include training in the recognition of the symptoms of head and neck injuries, concussions and injuries related to “second impact syndrome,” and a description of the need for appropriate time to delay the return to sports competition or practice of a student athlete who has sustained a concussion or other head injury.

However, the policy also states that if no additional time is specified for a particular age group or sport, the student athlete may return “when written medical clearance is given to the athlete, stating that he or she is symptom-free and has already completed an appropriate, graduated, individualized return-to-play protocol.”

The guideline also requires annual baseline (cognitive response) testing for all middle school and high school student athletes prior to sports participation using the ImPACT online testing program.

Regarding in-game incidents, it mandates that any student athlete suspected of sustaining a concussion or “exhibiting or complaining of” concussion-related symptoms — or any student who has sustained a concussion or has become unconscious during a practice or athletic contest — be removed from play and not permitted to return that day.

In each instance, a medical evaluation must be performed by a certified athletic trainer (ATC) and/or school doctor or other certified and approved medical personnel to determine the “presence or absence of a concussion.” If a student is diagnosed with a concussion, a minimum seven-day wait before returning to activity is imposed.

The policy states the student “must be free of all concussion symptoms for seven days prior to return.”

In addition, the same cognitive ImPACT test administered previously as a baseline is to be used to determine whether physical clearance and return to activity are appropriate. The test would be administered and/or evaluated by a BOE-approved, concussion-trained doctor.

Following such clearance, the certified athletic trainer and coach are directed to implement a “gradual and acclimated” return to activity under “Zurich Consensus Statement” guidelines.

The revised policy also requires that the N.J. Department of Education Concussion and Head Injury fact sheet — and the Glen Rock district’s Concussion Policy Acknowledgement form — be distributed annually to every student athlete who participates in interscholastic sports.

Parents must sign and return the form prior to student participation in any athletic practice or event.

Source: De Santa, Richard. “Glen Rock School Board Updates Concussion Policy.” N.p., 31 July 2015. Web. 31 Aug. 2015.


It was one of the hottest days on record in Roseburg and my husband Russ was determined to finish the landscaping of our back yard. My 40th birthday was later that month and his party plans included a grassy lawn. The sod would be delivered the next day so tilling the soil wasn’t about to wait because of the heat.

Russ spent the day in the yard in temperatures that soared in the hundreds. By the evening he was sicker than I had ever seen him. He was in bed early, barely holding down water and worrying about the sod delivery the next day. If it didn’t get rolled immediately it would be dead and useless.

What I didn’t realize at the time was the jeopardy my husbands health was in and it could have been much more than sod that we lost.

In hindsight, Russ was at the least suffering from heat exhaustion and more probably he was having heat stroke. What we mistook for a horrible flu was caused by dehydration and extreme heat.

It wasn’t until a few years later while working in the ER that a very hot day gave me chills. It was long after the fact that I realized how much danger my husband had been in and how he is even more susceptible after that first incident.

This week has been a reminder that we all need to be careful. Roseburg is having unusually hot temperatures this week.

To make matters worse, smoke from the Cable Crossing Fire east of Glide has brought us a thick layer of smoke clouding our valley.

Not only should we be caring for ourselves for heat, but looking after those who have respiratory issues as well.

It’s a good time to look after elderly relatives and neighbors. Make sure they have plenty of water and a cool place to be if possible. Children are highly susceptible as well. Their little bodies take less time to heat up so keeping cool water handy for them is a must.

Educate yourself on the symptoms and treatment for heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

According to WebMD, the most common signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion include:

  • Confusion
  • Dark-colored urine (a sign of dehydration)
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle or abdominal cramps
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Pale skin
  • Profuse sweating
  • Rapid heartbeat

Symptoms of Heatstroke

The hallmark symptom of heat stroke is a core body temperature above 105 degrees Fahrenheit, but fainting may be the first sign.

Other symptoms may include:

  • Throbbing headache
  • Dizziness and light-headedness
  • Lack of sweating despite the heat
  • Red, hot, and dry skin
  • Muscle weakness or cramps
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rapid heartbeat, which may be either strong or weak
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Behavioral changes such as confusion, disorientation, or staggering
  • Seizures
  • Unconsciousness

Please seek medical attention immediately for anyone experiencing the symptoms listed above.

If you suspect heatstroke, call 911 and administer first aid while you wait.

WebMD has suggestions for administering first aid for heat exhaustion as well but if you have any questions please seek advice from a medical professional. Don’t risk by making the diagnosis yourself.

As you might guess, Russ didn’t roll sod the next day. It was up to me and a hired hand. He did sit on the deck with a cool drink to supervise. I didn’t mind, I was just glad he was around to help.

Source: Wilson, Jemelene. “What You Must Know about Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke | Moms |” The News-Review. N.p., 30 July 2015. Web. 30 July 2015.

Five summer tips to prevent asthma attacks

Summer break in Minnesota is a great time for children to recharge and play outdoors. But it is definitely not a good time to take a break from asthma medications and asthmamanagement.

Children who reduce or stop taking their asthma medications during the summer months are at a greater risk of serious asthma symptoms in the fall.

Even if children aren’t having symptoms, summer vacation doesn’t apply to asthma medications says Dr. Deborah McWilliams, pediatrician and chair of the Division of Community Pediatrics with Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

“It’s very important that people who have asthma continue to take all their asthma medications as prescribed over the summer, even if they don’t have symptoms,” McWilliams said.

“It’s the best way to prevent asthma symptoms from starting and curbing a possible asthma attack.”

Asthma hospitalizations and emergency department visits tend to spike in the fall, possibly due to viral respiratory infections and exposure to fall pollen and outdoor mold.

Children heading back to school also have closer personal contact with many more children, which increases their exposure to infections that can trigger an asthma attack.

Because of this trend, summer is a crucial time for parents to start gearing up for fall by scheduling an asthma ‘check-up’ with a health care provider.

Follow these five tips to have a healthy summer and start of school:

Take your asthma medications everyday – Children who reduce or stop taking their asthma medications during the summer months are at greater risk of serious asthma symptoms in the fall.

Schedule an asthma check-up – Summer is a good time to get ready for fall. Schedule an asthma check-up now with your health care provider for you or your child. It’s especially important for children to see their health care provider before school starts to adjust asthma medications, check your inhaler technique, and get an updated written asthma action plan (AAP) to have at home and give a copy to the school nurse. Talk with your health care provider about your asthma action plan and how to manage asthma on a daily basis before your child heads back to school.

Know and avoid your asthma triggers – Each person’s asthma responds to different triggers. Triggers such as colds (viruses), tobacco smoke, pollen, outdoor air pollution, wood smoke, mold, dander from animals and even cold air can irritate your airways and lead to an asthma attack. Sports and other outdoor activities can make asthma flare up. Work with your health care provider to create a written asthma action plan that lists your asthma triggers, medications and what to do to keep your asthma well controlled throughout the year.

Play with asthma – Be smart when you exercise. Carry your rescue inhaler with you during runs, workouts and team practices. Avoid exercising outdoors on days that the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency issues an Air Quality Alert. Exercising is good for people who have asthma, but it pays to play it safe.

Pack smart for camp and family travel – If your child is going to camp (day or overnight), tell them about your child’s asthma, their triggers, and give them a copy of the AAP along with any asthma medications. If you’re travelling across country or just for an overnight, make sure all asthma medications are packed, inhalers are full (check the expiration date) and that they’ll last the length of the trip.

Source: “Five Summer Tips to Prevent Asthma Attacks.” KVLY RSS. N.p., 30 July 2015. Web. 30 July 2015.

5 Ways to Tell If Your Kid Is Dehydrated

Summertime is great for outdoor fun. However, one of the hidden dangers can be dehydration. Dehydration occurs when we lose more liquid than we take in. All of the fluid we lose needs to be replaced every day. Under normal conditions, thirst tells us that we need fluids; we drink water, and we do not become dehydrated. However, little ones may be too distracted playing to tell you they’re thirsty or perhaps not be able to even say that they’re thirsty.

Signs of dehydration include:

  • Lack of sweating
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Less urine being produced. I.E. dry diapers, or no trips to the bathroom. Urine that is dark-colored is more concentrated, and evidence of some amount of dehydration. Clear to light yellow urine usually means your child is hydrated.
  • Fewer tears. A dehydrated child cannot make tears.
  • Mucous membranes, like the inside of the mouth, dry up.

If your child has any of these symptoms, give them fluids immediately. If the symptoms are severe, call your doctor and heed their advice. If they tell you to treat them at home, here are some tips to rehydrate your kids.

For the future, here are some tips to keep your kid hydrated.

  • Give them small amounts of liquid frequently. That way, it’s easier for them to keep it down.
  • On hot days, serve “water” snacks such as celery or watermelon.
  • Make sure they have plenty of breaks during playtime to rehydrate.
  • Get them a cool water bottle to get them excited about drinking water.

Source: “5 Ways to Tell If Your Kid Is Dehydrated.” RSS. N.p., 30 July 2015. Web. 30 Aug. 2015.

How to Increase Safety In Youth Sports

allergy3        Now that we’re grown, most of us look back at our days participating in youth sports and think of the enjoyment and experience that they gave us. Youth sports taught us a lot about commitment and teamwork, which were both important lessons to us even after moving on from the teams we played on as a child. Participating in sports as a child kept us healthy, active, and allowed for us to interact with other kids, all of which were beneficial to our development. We trusted our coaches and looked up to them to teach us the rules of the game and the necessary skills to play. We learned sportsmanship, integrity, and the importance of practicing something over and over before finally mastering it.
        As a person who played soccer from the age of five all the way through my senior year of high school, I see the value of sports in a child’s life and I am thankful for the ways in which I grew as a person because of my participation in sports. Because I genuinely value the experience of playing youth sports, I also believe in the importance of keeping children safe and healthy on the field. There was nothing worse than having to sit on the sidelines and watch your team play, whether they were winning or losing, knowing that an injury was holding you back from getting out there and playing with them. I understand that injuries and illnesses are an inevitable part of sports, but I think that if more measures were taken to teach youth athletes and their coaches about player safety, we would see fewer kids sitting on the bench and more running around out on the field.
        In recent years, there has been more and more talk about the importance of player safety especially when it comes to concussions, ACL injuries, and other injuries that could seriously impact a child’s health. I like to see attention being given to youth sports safety and I think the conversation needs to continue. What we need to do is increase education in every sport in regard to the rules of play and sports injuries in general.
allergy4        First things first, knowing the correct conduct of the sport is necessary in keeping yourself, as a player, safe, as well as your teammates and competitors. Being knowledgeable about the rules can prevent players from putting themselves or the players around them in a dangerous play. Children need to hear the rules multiple times and see them played out on the field to have a real understanding of what they are and why they are in place. When it comes to contact sports, players need to be aware of how much contact is too much contact and make it a point to not become aggressive to the point where an opponent is getting hurt. Players should be fully taught the right way to use equipment in order to avoid dangerous misuse that could pose as a threat to someone’s safety. All of these things are lessons that need to be taught by coaches over and over again so that players recognize the importance and value of playing the game the right way and the safest way.
        Education surrounding sports injuries and how to take care of your body should also be improved in order to make the playing field safer. In my experience, only some of my coaches really stressed the necessity of stretching before and after practice and games. All coaches should help children understand how important it is to warm up and cool down and they should make a point to do so during every practice or game, for this could prevent torn muscles and other injuries on the field. Similarly, both coaches and players need to be educated on common injuries so that they know what to look out for and how to treat them. Not every coach needs to be medically certified, but an understanding of things like concussions, ankle sprains, and shin splints would greatly help a coach effectively react to an injury or emergency on the field.
        Sports are a great way for children to stay active and be a part of a team, and no child should miss out on playing a sport that they love because of an injury that could have been prevented. In order for players to stay safe on the field, there needs to be a greater awareness of the rules of the game and ways to keep one’s body healthy and functioning. If coaches stress the importance of these two things and are also taught just a basic understanding of common injuries and how to treat them, there could be fewer players losing game time for injuries. With the right education, youth sports can become safer and children could continue to benefit from their participation in sports.

Jeff Harvey Joins the Safety Tag Board of Advisors


PHILADELPHIA (July 20, 2015) – Safety Tag is happy to welcome Jeff Harvey onto their Board of Advisors. Jeff Harvey, founder of The Tewaaraton Foundation, and former lacrosse player at Boston College, has experience in sports and an appreciation for player safety. His knowledge and commitment will make him an effective and informative member of the board.

Safety Tag provides a dynamic mobile platform to non-medically trained volunteer coaches who are responsible for player safety. Using their smartphone, coaches are equipped with player-specific medical information and emergency action plans provided directly by parents. The knowledge and tools that Safety Tag provides coaches allows for a quicker, more effective response in the event of an illness or injury. Jeff Harvey and Safety Tag both see the importance of keeping players healthy and safe on the playing field and Safety Tag is looking forward to having him on board.


Mike Mayock To Donate Safety Tag To Football Program

PHILADELPHIA (July 20, 2015) – Safety Tag is excited to announce Mike Mayock’s participation in their Safety Tag Scholarship Program, which will allow 3,000 players in the Bert Bell Football League to use Safety Tag’s platform at no cost. Mike Mayock’s generous participation in the scholarship program will help parents, players, and coaches in the Bert Bell Football League create a safer playing field by giving coaches the necessary information and tools to react in an emergency situation, and by enhancing communication between parents, coaches, and the league.

With a greater emphasis on player safety in recent years, both Safety Tag and Mike Mayock see the value in a platform that works to improve the way in which illnesses and injuries are reported and managed in youth sports. In the sport of football especially, there is great talk about concussions and return-to-play protocol. Safety Tag enables leagues to follow specific protocol and manage injuries through a dynamic online platform. The safety platform will allow players and coaches to create a profile in which the parents of players will enter any information regarding their child’s health that the coach should know about in the event of an emergency, and the coach will make public all certifications that they have completed so that parents know that they are prepared for an emergency situation. All injuries will be logged and both parents and coaches will be notified when any change occurs in a player’s health. This transparency between the coaches and the parents will allow for safer play, and will give parents the comfort of knowing that the coach is prepared to face an emergency situation.


Bert Bell Memorial Football To Use Safety Tag

PHILADELPHIA (July 21, 2015) – As a Regional Sponsor of USA Football, Safety Tag has begun working with the Bert Bell Memorial Football Program, signing over 5,000 players into their safety network. All of the players, parents, and coaches in this league will receive the benefits of using Safety Tag at no cost thanks to the generous scholarship provided by Mike Mayock.

The Bert Bell Football League was founded in commemoration of the late Bert Bell, and seeks to give youth athletes the right skills and attitude to prepare them for high school and collegiate level sports. This league wants to give their players the best sporting experience, with a focus on sportsmanship and fair play over winning the game. They also value the importance of keeping their players safe and accounted for on the field. By using Safety Tag, every player will have a Player Safety File in which parents can input important health information about their child for the coach to view. Parents can also write out step-by-step instructions on what to do in the event of an emergency through the emergency action plans. This way, coaches will be knowledgeable about the health issues of players on their team and be prepared to react in the event of an injury or illness. Safety Tag expects that their safety platform will give Bert Bell coaches the tools that they need to be the most supportive and helpful coaches they can be in order to help players stay safe and successful now and in the future.

Youth sports: Kids’ athletics are in danger


As budgets tighten in public schools across the country, youth sports are feeling the pain. Between 2009 to 2011, $3.5 billion was cut from schools’ sports budgets, and an estimated 27 percent of U.S. public high schools will not have any sports by the year 2020 if the current trends continue, according to Up2US, a nonprofit for sports-based youth development.

It has become “apparent that youth sports are in crisis,” said Lauren Hobart, chief marketing officer at athletic equipment retailer Dick’s Sporting Goods.

To combat the trend, Dick’s Sporting Goods announced on Tuesday that it’s partnering with crowdfunding site to help schools seeking money for their school sports programs. The company has made a $25 million, multiyear commitment to help programs facing budget shortfalls.

The goal is to get kids playing sports again, transform their lives and teach them lessons that they will carry long after leaving the playing field.

“Football and sports saved my life,” said Brandon Marshall, wide receiver for the New York Jets. The five-time Pro Bowler said that youth sports gave him a chance to succeed when times were tough growing up in Central Florida. “Sometimes I got lost, and for me it was my only way out.”

Marshall’s career has since taken him from Denver to Miami and Chicago and now New York, and Marshall said the skills he learned from youth sports have helped him today.

“Sports is a universal language,” Marshall said. “It breaks down so many barriers.”

For Karl-Anthony Towns, the NBA’s top draft pick, sports gave him a ticket to college. The Piscataway, New Jersey, native was devastated as a child to learn his parents could not afford to send him to college.

“Sports was the only way I was going to get an education,” he said.

Towns earned a 3.96 GPA and got a full basketball scholarship to the University of Kentucky. He left for the Minnesota Timberwolves of the National Basketball Association after his freshman season and, according a New York Times article in June, signed up for online courses at Kentucky to continue working toward his degree.

“I learned initiative and how to get the job done,” he said of sports.

For others, it was about learning life lessons that apply far beyond the bounds of sports.

“For me, youth sports laid the foundation of my professional career,” said Carli Lloyd, midfielder for the U.S. Women’s National team that won the 2015 FIFA World Cup. The two-time Olympic Gold medalist said she learned the value of hard work and to respect teammates and coaches. “Sports give such a wide range of things that can help in the long term.”

Student athletes are four times more likely to attend college and have 40 percent higher test scores, according Up2Us. The organization’s CEO and founder, Paul Caccamo, has dedicated his life to using sports to teach essential values and skills to high-risk youth.

“Sports is really character development,” Caccamo said.

Source: Golden, Jessica. “What We Lose When We Lose Kids’ Sports.” CNBC. N.p., 29 July 2015. Web. 29 July 2015.