This weekend’s health and safety news is full of research updates:
* The Huntsville Times reported that the Southeastern Conference will receive a report at its spring meetings from a group that is studying concussions in sports.
Six months ago, the SEC announced that Ole Miss Chancellor Dan Jones would chair a working group to study head injuries, along with a physician, two head-trauma specialists, two team doctors and two athletic trainers from SEC universities.
“We’re gathering information from our own universities and we’re reviewing the information available through all the folks working on this, including other conferences and the NCAA and the NFL,” Jones said this week. “We’re taking a broad look at the information that’s available. That includes medical literature and what our institutions are doing.”
In the lab, the participant wears a special headset and stands on a platform in front of a 12-foot by 10-foot screen, then navigates with a joystick through a simulation of hallways and rooms, a 3-D elevator and more. Researchers assess brain function using electroencephalogram (EEG), balance, memory, attention and reaction time tests. By comparing participant’s performance in the simulation before and after trauma, medical professionals can determine the severity of the injury.
“We haven’t waited for research,” Goodell said. “We’ve been making the changes to the game. We’ve been making rule changes, making equipment changes. Medicine has a ways to go. We need to fund more research. We have that in our collective bargaining agreement, to fund $100 million worth of research. We funded $30 million worth to the NIH last fall. That research is under way.”
* The Columbus Dispatch wrote about former Ohio State Buckeye Donnie Nickey, who is worried about the diagnosis of the late Junior Seau.
* Science Codex suggested that youth athletes play more often just for the fun of the sport.
* Philly.com’s “SportsDoc” blog wrote about how parents and doctors are teaming up stop sports injuries.
* The London Daily Mail ran a feature on the MC10, a skull cap which is supposed to register the severity of hits right after they occur.
* The Sporting News looked at Dale Earnhardt Jr. and how he will bounce back this season in NASCAR with an offseason to recover from his two concussions.
– Bill Bradley, contributing editor