Thursday, March 29, 2012

On the Field Evaluations: Concussions

Yadier Molina suffered a mild concussion on Ju...
Yadier Molina suffered a mild concussion on June 15, 2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I thought that being able to discuss the particulars of how a concussion is diagnosed on the field would be a great contributor to my paper. I found before a few bits of information that related to this subject in previous searches, but not an article that went to such depths as this one.
The precise steps of what to do in the event of an athletes injury is depicted. As to whether or not advanced personal are needed, and what needs to be done when certain equipment is being used by the athlete. The article also states the follow-up procedure necessary for when an athlete receives a concussion, indicating as to how they should be monitored. The only discrepancy that I have found with this article compared to others is the statement they make as to whether or not an athlete should return to play after a concussion on the same day as it was received. I have found through other research that this is in fact unethical, and should not be done. Also the description as to how to look for neurological  damage is given by this article. They give a list of guidelines that most first responders follow when looking for neurological damage within an athlete. These tests are performed periodically throughout the day, to better diagnose the severity of the damage and to see if any other problems arise.
What I find interesting is the lack of first responders at high school sporting events. I had a situation at a tournament I was coaching at where one of my athletes got injured. He received what I thought was a concussion. I know quite well the signs and symptoms of concussions, and I wanted more advanced personal to come and assess him. What I found was that this school did not have any medical care provided, and that it was due to cost. They told me that they could call in medical care individuals, but that it would cost money. This to me was appalling. I feel as though medical care individuals should be present at all sporting events, just in case situations like this arise.
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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Managing a Concussion

EEG with 32 elektrodes
EEG with 32 elektrodes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I thought as though it would be important to not only explain what a concussion was, it's origins and symptoms, but to also explain various ways of treating a concussion. What I found was an article that somewhat explained how to treat the damaging effects that concussions can have without the use of medicine.
The article that I found first went into detail about the statistical nature of concussions. Also this was the first article I found to refer to concussions as mTBI, or mild traumatic brain injury. This is now becoming the more widely used name to describe concussions. This article stated that approximately 1.4 million people sustain a TBI each year within the United States, and that almost 75% of those are mTBI. So as one can see just from that statistically data mild traumatic brain injuries are a prevalent problem. Also the article stated that from this staggering amount almost 80% of those individuals experience post concussion syndrome, or PCS. PCS is a by product of concussions, and can significantly effect the life of the individual possessing them. PCS usually effects the working memory, as well as the verbal memory of an individually, and that luckily for most this effect is usually cured within a month of the initial accident. Unfortunately though about 7-15% of those afflicted can have symptoms lasting over a year. What this article said would be helpful in the managing of PCS, without the aid of medicines, is to be properly educating about what is happening, and how they can deal with it. They basically stated within the article their is no cure, but that one must simply wait for the results to subside. I can speak from personal experience that nothing does seem to help when one has long lasting PCS, the only thing that did help though was the managing of symptoms as they showed themselves.
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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Long-term Effect of Cumulative Concussions

PHILADELPHIA - NOVEMBER 29: Wide receiver DeSe...
PHILADELPHIA - NOVEMBER 29: Wide receiver DeSean Jackson #10 of the Philadelphia Eagles lies on the field after suffering a concussion as tight end Brent Celek #87, quarterback Donovan McNabb #5, and offensive tackle Jamaal Jackson #67 stand by during a game against the Washington Redskins on November 29, 2009 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Eagles won 27-24. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)
So as part of the research for my paper I wanted to understand more about the cumulative effect concussions can have on an individual. I have always heard that the more concussions received, the worse off a person can be. I had no real scientific proof to back this idea up, but now I can say that all of my suspicions were true.  
What this article focused on was two different groups of individuals. These were individuals that had one-two concussions, and the other consisting of individuals having three or more concussions. What the researchers were looking for was the effect that cumulative concussions had on the working memory of an individual. Their findings I thought were quite startling, especially so because I am a member of the group that has had multiple concussions. What they unfortunately found was a strong correlation between cumulative concussions in sports, and severely decreased working memory. This working memory was found to be strongly correlated with the decrease of the visual memory within the mind. So the ability to visually store and bring back about memories in this manner are severely altered by concussions. Also what they found was that the more concussions an individual receives, the worse the effects can be. An individual that has received a concussion initially, having a history of concussions, tends to have severe symptoms right away and the time of recovery is much longer.
So the  conclusion of this study was that cumulative concussions cause more severe effects within that individual. Also that the effects that are had on the working memory tend to be progressive, and get worse with the age of the individual. Sadly this is the truth, and the reason as to why concussion awareness must be made.
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Monday, March 26, 2012

Second Impact Syndrome

A diagram of the forces on the brain in a coup...
A diagram of the forces on the brain in a coup-contrecoup injury (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Today's article that I found in the quest for research based material for my paper dealt with the origin's, as well as the physiological effects of  second impact syndrome. This subject I felt was an appropriate contributor to my paper, because it deals with one of the many side effects a concussion can have.
Second Impact Syndrome is characterized by an individual receiving an initial mild concussion, then before the brain has ample time to heal, receives another mild concussion. These concussions happening so close to time with one another causes severe brain injury to occur, and in almost every situation results in death. What occurs to cause the death of these individuals is that the brain experiences massive swelling, and the brain stem herniates, resulting in immediate brain death, i.e., death of the individual. An image was shown along with the description of second impact syndrome of an individual who experienced a brain injury similar to compounding concussions. What it showed was quite startling to see. As one can image a normal healthy brain looks somewhat like a combination of spongy layers with space between them, as seen from a cross section. Well this brain that was depicted showed no space, just a solid white mass. This was the severity of swelling due to the compound concussions that were similar in nature to second impact syndrome.
So now one can see why the importance of protocol in the return-to-play is important, because if another concussion is received in the time in takes for the initial concussion to heal, death can occur. Concussions are not the minor incident as they were once thought. They are severe, and must be taken seriously.
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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Concussions in Sport and Recreation

Taken From
So after researching for different articles relating to the topic of concussions I ran across one that caught my eye. This article had to do with the topic of concussions, and how they are prevalent within sports and recreation, having a particular emphasis on children with concussions in these highlighted areas.
This study talks about how their are approximately 30 million children between the ages of 5 and 17 that participate in organized sports. Also that in correlation, 85% of children that come into an emergency room for concussion treatment are there due to concussions received during sporting events. Sports like football and hockey are said in this report to be the primary sports associated with concussions, with wrestling and soccer being secondary contributing sports. Also this study talks about differing types of concussions. These two types of concussions are called simple, and complex. Simple concussions are said to last 7-10 days, whereas complex concussions can last up to a month or longer. A fact that I found quite interesting about this article was that susceptibility to concussions is thought to be linked to genetic factors. These factors are similar to the ones suspected to attribute to post-traumatic seizures. Within this article the discussion of assessment of concussions during game play is discussed. This is similar to the information that I wrote about in my last article, and they too outline the six steps necessary before return-to-play can be had. I found one statement particularly disturbing, and this was the lack of attention given to individuals who have received concussions by emergency room personal. Only treatment of visible problems are addressed, and the reference to see someone more qualified is only about 35%.
Concussions are still a mystery to the world of medicine. There are only subtle physiological effects that can be seen when a concussion occurs, therefore it makes them difficult to understand and diagnose. Their impact though can lead to define a person's life, mostly in a negative way. More research needs to be put into this subject so that the lives of many can be saved from such a horrible fate concussions can hold.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Return to Play: Concussions

NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 17:  In his second game bac...
NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 17: In his second game back from a concussion, Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins skates against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on March 17, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. The Penguins defeated the Devils 5-2. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)
So after searching for quite some time on information that I could use in my final paper about the effects of weight training for teenagers, and yielding too few results, I decided to change my subject. The subject besides weight training and wrestling that seems to be a prevalent part of my life, sadly is the long term effect of concussions. Now I am pretty much symptom free, with only a few residual after effects, but during the past year I have acquired quite an amount of information on this subject. Also I have found that their is much more information out there on the effects of concussions.
The first article that I stumbled upon was the development of the "return-to-play" protocol taken for athletes who have received a concussion and want to get back to competition. Now I have actually learned about this protocol in some of my classes, and it was quite interesting to read the study that was done in order for this protocol to be implemented. The main purpose of this programs development was to set some standard for as to when athletes should return to play in sports. Their are a number of different testing systems, but they all unfortunately diagnose concussions differently, making assessment and judging hard to perform and remember. What this program did was put the steps needed for checking for a concussion into an easy to remember mnemonic format. This was "CHSD," which stood for, Confusion, Headache, Sudden Loss of Consciousness, and Decreased Memory. This is combined with a three point grading system determining whether or not the individual can return to play, or be sent for an evaluation by a more qualified individual, most likely a hospital. Also as part of this program a return-to-play guideline was developed, where the individual would have to complete a set of six programs in order to return to play. If they were asymptomatic during the progression of these levels they would be able to return to play, but if any symptoms arose they would have to start at the beginning.
They are as follows:

Level 1 No activity
Level 2 Walking or stationary cycle
Level 3 Sport specific activity
Level 4 No contact practice
Level 5 Contact practice
Level 6 Return to play

What was discovered from the study performed implementing these protocols was that this system allowed athletic trainers, or the performer to easily make an assessment of an athlete as to whether a concussion had been received. This was found to be due to the easy to remember mnemonic system, which set a unified guideline for diagnosing a concussion.

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Depression in Schools

Taken From
Now depression among teens, and even children is a growing concern. Now teen years especially are a concern for these symptoms to manifest themselves, because of not only the physiologically changes that are occurring in the body, but the ever increasing stressors that are being placed on the children.
I recently read an article about teen depression that came from the MAYO Clinic. I wanted to know about depression and it's signs in order to better myself as a teacher, I am going to be working with this age group soon and I feel as though knowing how to better cope with it in order to modify teaching would be a good tool to posses. Now depression in teens is a serious sickness that causes the individual to change the way they think, and act. How they interact with others, and even the way in which they handle themselves in school can be severely affected. Now their are many symptoms one must watch out for when trying to understand if it is depression that is being shown, or just a minor emotional outburst. Now loss of interest, fatigue, and irritability are among some of the top signs, along with anxiety and disruptive emotional outburst. These are all symptoms that can be noticed in the classroom, and with the experience I already have coaching, I could tell when someone was having a bad day just from their demeanor in practice. Now some of these symptoms can evolve into life threatening problems, so something must be done about depression before it has this chance. Now the main defense against depression it seems is to medicate the individual. To me this is more like a band aid, and not a cure. Counseling, and therapy are in the mix as well, and I feel as though these are somewhat more helpful when combined with the medication because this actually gives a chance at fixing the problem that is causing the depression. Really though as a teacher you can only recognize these symptoms and then through proper channels refer the child to others that are more qualified. The main point is that you have taken a chance to care and show that child support. Having them know that someone cares about them I think is probably one of the greatest acts that can be done for children with depression. That is because many depression cases are due to loneliness and a lack of self worth. Being there for your students and showing the care is probably one of the greatest things to be done and is the main purpose of writing this article.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

You Are What You Eat!

A diet rich in soy and whey protein, found in ...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
So as the old saying states, "you are what you eat." Now I am sure that many people have heard this, but has anyone ever truly thought about it? Yes,  I eat vegetables, fruit, grains, dairy, meats..etc. All the parts of the food plate and a healthy diet. At least that is my own personal opinion about my diet. So I should be good right? I am a genetically modified, hormone enhanced individual just like everyone else! WAIT, what?
So now that your attention is fully fixated upon this article, give me a chance to explain this outrageous statement. Many food companies in search of yielding a larger profit from their product, or simply trying to protect their product from blights or something of that nature have opted for a quicker route to the solution. Instead of taking the time to properly grow and bread products such as vegetables and meats they have instead decided to modify these products either at the genetic level, or by using supplements. Livestock for example are given steroids in order to increase muscularity, in turn yielding a larger profit in pounds of meat per head. Also milk cows are given hormones that that a larger amount of milk can be produced by a single cow. These are ways that products are modified by supplements. So many people may be thinking, "so what?," now ask yourself this, where do all of those hormones go to after the animal is processed? The answer is, into the person who is consuming it. Now I do not know the direct correlation between this, but it makes me wonder that this may be the reason that people are increasing in size, hitting puberty earlier, and also possibly I wonder if this is having an affect on obesity rates. Now this is just speculation, but it makes since if you introduce foreign hormones into ones body their will be some sort of physiological effect, correct? "Okay, don't eat beef I guess. That'll stop it." Wrong, most every product that is in mass production within the food industry has been touched by this idea. Chicken is genetically modified to produce larger portions of breast meat, soy beans are genetically altered to be resilient to certain infections, corn is modified and then fed to these animals! Everything that a person thinks is natural and healthy is probably in fact engineered in some part by humans. Now this is kind of a scary thought to have, but the absolute truth of this is their is no way to avoid genetically modified or enhanced foods. It is nearly impossible within today's society. My large concern though, and why I am writing this article is because I fear for the health and safety of future generations. What is going to be the long term effects of having foreign hormones, and eating genetically enhanced products. Will this cause our biggest health concern of chronic illnesses to increase among humanity due to unseen issues that are going to arise? I do not know that future, but as Sarah Conner from the Terminator said, "no fate but what we make," so is this the future we want for our young?
Let me know your opinion on this subject. I would love to hear any reactions or thoughts.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Don't Worry, Be Happy!

Discovery Fit & Health
Discovery Fit & Health (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In today's fast paced world it is easy to fall into a life where you are not always happy. Totally being consumed by your work, and being in an environment where you feel less than appreciated can not only have an affect on ones mental health, but in time these effects can manifest physically. On a brief side not you can see how this statement is based on truth by simply looking at our Presidents. When a President first goes into office they are usually youthful looking, but later into their term they have grey hair and many stress related age marks shown on their face.
So being that the workload and stress of everyone in the world is increasing, the rate of unhappiness is as well. I feel as though this rate is much to high, and steps need to be taken. I recently read an article on promoting happiness in a fast paced word that was on the Discovery Fit & Health channels's website. They outlined eight essential steps that one can do throughout the day to try and lessen these stressor's impact on your daily life. The first idea they outlined, was to set priorities and slow down. This I feel is important because it allows people to actually think about what they are doing and not just run on auto pilot. The second one, and which I feel is the most important is exercise! Exercise for me is a time in which I can reflect on events in my life, or work out different situations. So many times have I been stuck on an assignment and gone to the gym, physically activity allows for my mind to calm and for me to work these problems out. Next is meditation, not on the past or future, but on the present. The next one is really quite obvious, "simplify your home." The environment you live in is actually a key factor in stress, if the environment is pleasant then in turn you will be less stressed. The fifth and six one I am going to group together. These are, "be an optimist," and "find content in what you have." I have grouped these together, because they are somewhat interrelated. Having a positive outlook and being happy with yourself are some of the most important actions a person can take! Goal setting is also important for happiness, that is why in this article they state that creating a mental image of where you would like you life is so important. Lastly, be compassionate! They do not directly mean this towards others, but firstly towards ones self, for you cannot love others until you love yourself!
These I feel are just a few important ways that one can keep their happiness and drive in this ever evolving world. I feel as though this is especially beneficial to first time teachers, who will most definitely be struggling with an overwhelming amount work and pressure.

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Monday, March 19, 2012


Taken From
An idea was brought up today during class that has always been a thought of mine, but I have never truly put it to words. This idea has been around for more than likely thousands of years, and many people have heard of it before. The saddening part though about this thought is that in modern times it is almost thought of as a cliche, and is most likely the reason as to why it's power has mostly evaded me. Now finally to unveil this idea to all of you, because I am sure by now most of you are dying to know what exactly it is I am talking about, so at last, "what is the body without the mind," or vis-versa. This thought of "what is the mind without the body," though is what I am interested in explaining.
I feel as though this idea is actually more important to me as a future Physical Education teacher. See many individuals within certain communities, or even certain school districts do not value Physical Education the same way that I value Physical Education. This is the personal opinion of others, and I am learning to respect the views of others even though they are so different than my own. I am starting to understand that beliefs are central to the knowledge that one contains. That the limitations of their knowledge form who they are, and what they believe to be certain truth (another idea I am starting to understand). So the point I am trying to make is that many people have never known about the true benefits of Physical Education, so it is written off as some bogus, unimportant subject that has no business being in the cognitive education of our youth. understanding the quote I recently brought in, "what is the mind without the body?," one can now see that Physical Education is the core element of learning! This idea has been backed by brain learning, where physical activity has been monitored among school aged students, and then their brains have been monitored to see if areas associated with learning present a higher area of stimulation. The answer is YES, physical education causes a significant increase the areas associated with learning. This type of information I feel finally gives concrete credibility for Physical Education, and its role within the curriculum of a school.  This is the knowledge I was talking about earlier that can change the thinking of skeptical individuals that do not understand the power of Physical Education. In time though I feel this idea will spread to others, and truly become the way of thinking.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

It is in the Air!

At last I look outside of my window to see the beauty of the world I have been longing for these past cold months. I breath deep as I open my window, and a wonderful smell of leaves and nature fill my senses. This to me is the smell of life, the smell of happiness. A cheerful sense of hope and new beginnings envelops my soul. It is Spring at last!
It is amazing to me how we as human beings are so influenced by the subtle changes of our environment. The smallest little factor can influence ones behavior in the most profound way. Now is this way of thinking only unique to me, or do others feel this affect as strongly as I do? I have read some articles on this subject, and the main consensus of the studies performed was that weather does indeed influence our feelings. The most pronounced contributor I have seen that contributes to happiness is the amount of sunshine that is experienced through the day. This to me makes perfect sense, because sunlight actually can have a physiological effect on the human body, helping one to produce certain vitamins within the body. This in turn effects the chemical balance within the body, influencing feelings. Also I can most definitely speak from personal experience coming from an area of the United States where climate changes so quickly, that the environment I am in has an affect on my feelings. So this realization of how weather can influence a mood has given me thoughts of how as a teacher one can use this idea to their benefit. Why be confined to the classroom? I feel as though changing the environment, and stimulating the mind in different modalities is the key to learning. So why not take your class outside when the weather permits. Maybe teach a non-traditional lesson, having to do with nature, and the elements of it that are around us at all times, but many have never noticed. This lack of connection with nature and its benefits is a growing concern. So why not educate on it, and at the same time effect the mood of the students for the positive!