A quick review of NFL injury reports will show that hamstring injuries are one of the most frequent. This year’s who’s who list of hamstring injuries includes: Larry Fitzgerald, Roddy White, Steven Jackson, Arian Foster, Michael Vick, Manny Lawson and Michael Boley. Hamstring strains do not seem as serious as an ACL tear or other injuries that require immediate surgery, but I would argue they can continue to impact a player’s performance once they return to play. For every plays who suffers this injury and returns to play safely there is another player that returns to play too soon, re-injures himself and spends more time on the injury report (See: Roddy White and Michael Vick).
For most people who watch the NFL on Sundays in October it is a reminder that October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month as players wear pink every weekend. Some of you may even know it is Mental Health Awareness Month after Brandon Marshall was fined by the NFL for wearing florescent green shoes during a recent Broncos game (the fine was donated to his foundation that helps those dealing with mental illness). Do any of you know that it is also National Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month? The Heart Rhythm Society (HRS) has put together a variety of resources to help us all learn more about Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). This is something we all should know more about as it effects more people than are killed by breast cancer, lung cancer and AIDS combined.
There are a variety of conditions that can be of concern and potentially fatal if not treated properly by trained professionals. Some of these conditions include, sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), infectious mononucleosis, exertional heat illness, asthma attack, and diabetic emergency among others. The topic I am going to discuss today is sickle cell trait (SCT). Understanding SCT is particularly important for certain segments of the population as it is more common in certain groups. Additionally, exertional sickling, a sickling response during intense exercise can sometimes be mistaken for exertional heat illness (EHI) to the untrained person. My goal today is to define SCT, differentiating it from sickle cell disease, provide you key identifiers that differentiates SCT from EHI (most often heat cramps) and to provide a brief introduction to the mandated NCAA testing policy.
As the sporting landscape becomes more and more specialized and ultimately more competitive many athlete are looking to improve their performance in any way they can. Often times this doesn’t mean just improving sports-specific skills and overall fitness through additional practice or training, it may mean considering dietary supplements as part of a daily regimen and diet. While these supplements may be appropriate in some cases, it is important for you to understand what you may be taking. The dietary supplement industry is a highly unregulated one, meaning choosing the right supplement that is proven effective can be challenging at best in many cases. Knowing this, what can you do to learn more?
I have been an athletic trainer for over 15 years now and today I read an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education that made me finally say, “Someone finally published some data on this.” The article (click here) by Brad Wolverton discusses the results of a survey of 101 of the 120 top bowl subdivision football teams in the country. Results of the survey show athletic trainers feel pressure from coaching staffs to return athletes to play who are not fully recovered from injuries, particularly concussions. Mr. Wolverton also refers to data collected by the NCAA in 2010 that showed almost 50% of medical staffs put athletes back in the same game following a concussion diagnosis. My response as an athletic trainer is, I’m not surprised. I have very little direct football experience at such a high level, but based on my experience in the college setting I think athletic trainers (and medical staffs) feel pressure at all levels. I think the pressure only increase as the level of competition increases and it’s a matter of whether or not the medical staff stands their ground or gives in to the coaching staff demands.