Today’s health and safety news around the world of sports:
* USA Today reported on Tennessee Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who was helping to promote Reebok’s new Head Impact Indicator at the Consumer Electronics Show.
A tiny rechargable pack, about the size of a quarter, sits at the base of your skull. If you’re hit too hard — an impact registering above pre-programmed thresholds based on the head-injury criteria levels (HIC) — a yellow or red light goes on. The idea behind the synthetic cap is to give coaches, parents, athletes, and even us hard-headed weekend warrior types, a tool to take better care of our brains. It’s easy to see why a professional athlete who gets tackled for a living would get behind this kind of technology. Hasselbeck has had a handful of concussions in his career and says he’s seen too many of his fellow-players suffer traumatic head injuries, when they failed to realize that knock to the noggin was more serious than they thought. Perhaps even more important he says, is that this kind of technology could help kids, coaches, and parents everywhere. He talked about watching his own three kids play, tumble, and even wipe-out on a bicycle a time or two. With a head-injury, often times the severity isn’t all that obvious, especially to a child. The warning lights built right in to the cap, could help act as an extra pair of eyes
* The Bleacher Report wrote about three major issues that college football must tackle soon, including concussions:
Concussions happen in football; the problem with concussions is when they are compounded by returning to the playing field too early in both games and practices. Add in the truest danger associated with football, sub-concussive blows, and that’s where efforts should be targeted – not whether or not a player’s helmet falls off.
While the stipend and division split are still in varying stages of the developing process, the technology required for making football safer, on real terms, is already readily available; they just refuse to use it. Impact monitoring sensors that work in real time, they exist. Hit counts to limit the amount of blows to the head, both concussive and sub-concussive, also exist.
* The Washington Post reported on the surgery for Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, who had two ligaments successfully reconstructed. The Washington Examiner wrote about what Griffin faces in his rehabilitation.
* The Washington Post wrote about famed sports physician, Dr. James Andrews, whose latest book appeared on shelves this week. “Any Given Monday” advises parents on how to avoid sports injuries. The National Post in Toronto also wrote about the book.
* WebMD wrote about how former NFL players are at risk for brain and mood problems.
* Despite stricter rules about concussions, NCAA hockey is not immune to concussions. Air Force Academy lost center George Michalke for the season this week, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette.
* The Bugle Newspapers of northwest Chicago area reported on how area schools on exercising zero tolerance with head injuries.
* The Associated Press reported that Washington Wizards guard John Wall will make his season debut Saturday after suffering a stress injury to his left kneecap in September.
– Bill Bradley, contributing editor