Here are the top headlines from this weekend involving the health and safety issues in football:
The Boston Globe wrote about trainer Rick Burkholder, whom the Philadelphia Eagles make available every week to talk about injuries. Recently he discussed the concussion protocol that quarterback Michael Vick has faced.
There are basically four components: the baseline cognitive test, a rehab program, the independent neurologist, and the team physician. A player may pass most of the criteria, but he will not be cleared until he passes all of it.
Vick has yet to pass his IMPact test. As important as the protocol is Burkholder’s wish that everyone in the NFL followed the same rules.
“I think the other guys that do what I do in the National Football League are the same,” he said. “I think the National Football League has done a tremendous job in giving us assistance in handling these and getting the message out to not only the coaches and the fans, but the players. To handle these things right, it takes everybody. It takes the players, it takes the coaches, it takes the athletic trainers, it takes the physicians, it takes (the media). Everybody’s got to be responsible with this thing and we’ve got to take it very seriously. …”
* The New York Times’ Judy Battista wrote about Adderalll and how it has become the drug at the center of attention in the NFL with at least seven suspensions this year related to the drug in some way..
But Adolpho Birch, who oversees drug testing as the N.F.L.’s senior vice president for law and labor, said last week that failed tests for amphetamines were up this year, although he did not provide any specifics. The increase in Adderall use probably accounts for a large part of the overall increase in failed tests.
“If nothing else it probably reflects an uptick in the use of amphetamine and amphetamine-related substances throughout society,” Birch said. “It’s not a secret that it’s a societal trend, and I think we’re starting to see some of the effects of that trend throughout our league.”
* ABCNews.com reported that Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher, who died in a murder-suicide on Saturday, did not have a long history of concussions.
* The Denver Post wrote about how the players and the NFL are changing their ways in dealing with concussions.
* Former Chicago Bears lineman Richard Dent talked to the Chicago Daily Herald about his career and his concussions
Concussions are part of the game, says Dent, who delivered a number of them.
“I actually received them, too,” he notes. “It’s not something that I kept track of. I had them in practice. I had them in games. It was a common thing.”
When Dent, who turns 52 on Dec. 13 (the same day his dad, Horace, turns 80), struggles to come up with the name of a former Bears tight end, he admits that he worries if his memory lapse is just a quirk, a natural part of aging or a symptom of brain damage caused by football collisions.
.* The Santa Monica Mirror outlined the signs of concussions that parents should watch for in their kids.
– Bill Bradley, contributing editor