Today’s health and safety news around the NFL features a few tech updates:
* ESPN.com’s Rick Sando talked to Dr. Stan Herring, a member of the NFL’s Head, Neck and Spine Committee, about a app he has created for helping to treat concussions.
They’re all different, in other words, and often tricky even for the experts to diagnose. Fortunately, there’s an app for that. No joke. While you’re playing “Angry Birds” or consulting ESPN ScoreCenter on your iPad, Herring might be recording a concussed player’s cognitive data for comparison against baseline results gathered during the preseason — all from the Seahawks’ sideline at CenturyLink Field. The concussion app, which Herring helped develop, is part of ongoing efforts to standardize procedures for testing and treatment across the NFL. At least half the teams are using it already. All will be using it by next season, per league rules.
* InformationWeek.com reported on the NFL’s migration to Electronic Health Records will benefit all 32 teams in diagnosing injuries to players.
* Men‘s Fitness magazine talked to a concussion specialist about the post-concussion issues that the former high school football may be facing.
The most important thing is to be honest with yourself, says Mickey Collins, M.D., the director of the Sports Medicine Concussion Program at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, who has treated a number of NFL players. If your body and mind are giving you cause for concern, Collins said, you need to take this seriously. If it’s only the headlines, calm down. “If the person concerned about it isn’t impacted by symptoms, don’t worry about it,” Collins said. “Enjoy your life, stay fit, have fun with whatever recreational activities you’re into.”
* MyGuidon.com in rural Missouri told its readers about the signs of concussions they should look for in kids and adults.
* The Washington Times published a freelance story about the research at the University of North Carolina, including the HITS system.
* CSN Philadelphia reported that Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick failed his latest concussion test.
* The Associated Press reported that Cleveland Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden has been cleared to start this Sunday after suffering a concussion late in the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers last Sunday.
* And The Bleacher Report said that Alex Smith’s benching after a head injury could drastically affect the progress the NFL has made in concussion awareness.
If players refuse to self-report concussions or play through them so that they don’t follow in Smith’s footsteps, the NFL will be fundamentally less safe. The NFL will not be able to enact any rule that protects players who refuse to protect themselves. No medical expert, no new helmet technology, no fine money or 15-yard penalty will keep players safe who would put themselves into harm’s way. So, players must make this choice for themselves.
– Bill Bradley, contributing editor