Friday, August 20, 2010

It's football time...

It's football time alright, but what does this mean for you or your child?

Hopefully it doesn't mean injuries, but chances are you or your child could experience some type of injury. Most injuries in football are minor but with a quick response you can help that injury quickly dissipate. Most injuries like bumps or bruises can be treated on the sideline or at home by icing the injury. I recommend that ice be placed over the injury with a thin paper towel as a barrier to reduce to possibility of creating ice blisters or freezing the skin. I recommend that the ice be left on for approximately 20 minutes and checking the skin every 5 minutes. Young children should ice for about 10-15 minutes.

Football gear is obviously the most important part of the game. My experience of coaching and being a team physician is that equipment isn't checked often enough. Some helmets have an air bladder that should be checked daily for proper inflation. The helmet shouldn't be able to slide around the head! Chin straps should be checked as well. New chin straps will stretch during the breaking in process, so I suggest having your child place their mouth piece in and tighten the chin strap.

Head injuries have become a hot-topic in my profession and I can tell you that most physicians and coaches have little knowledge about handling these injuries. I attended the Los Angeles Summit on Sports Concussion this year and received the newest approach to concussive injuries. The Los Angeles Summit was attended by the whos who in head injuries. The information that has come out is now being enforced in the NFL, NCAA as being slowly addressed in high school football.

In the past when an athlete got a concussion, we would hold the player for a week after all the symptoms vanished. New studies suggest that the brain injury can still be present long after the symptoms have gone away. The important thing for a player or parent to understand is that there are new ways to discover if your athlete is safe to return to contact. You family physician or neurologist may not even know about the new details of these findings and its up to you to ask questions. I would suggest that you visit the impact website if you would like to do some research on your own at.

If your child has had their "bell rung",

A. Common signs and symptoms of sports-related concussion

1. Signs (observed by others):

• Athlete appears dazed or stunned
• Confusion (about assignment, plays, etc.)
• Forgets plays
• Unsure about game, score, opponent
• Moves clumsily (altered coordination)
• Balance problems
• Personality change
• Responds slowly to questions
• Forgets events prior to hit
• Forgets events after the hit
• Loss of consciousness (any duration)

2. Symptoms (reported by athlete):

• Headache
• Fatigue
• Nausea or vomiting
• Double vision, blurry vision
• Sensitive to light or noise
• Feels sluggish
• Feels “foggy”
• Problems concentrating
• Problems remembering

3. These signs and symptoms are indicative of probable concussion.

There are some simple questions that you need to ask your child. If he or she misses any of these questions, please contact your doctor.


Ask the athlete the following questions.

What stadium is this? What month is it?
What city is this? What day is it?
Who is the opposing team?

Anterograde amnesia
Ask the athlete to repeat the following words.
Girl, dog, green

Retrograde amnesia
Ask the athlete the following questions.
What happened in the prior quarter/period?
What do you remember just prior to the hit?
What was the score of the game prior to the hit?
Do you remember the hit?

Ask the athlete to do the following.
Repeat the days of the week backward (starting with today).
Repeat these numbers backward:
63 (36 is correct) 419 (914 is correct)

Word list memory
Ask the athlete to repeat the three words from earlier.
(Girl, dog, green)
Any failure should be considered abnormal

If you think your child has suffered a head injury, please feel free to contact me at my office and will gladly help you.

Good Luck to Grace, Simi & Royal High School teams as well as the Viking & Patriot leagues.


David A. Sommer, DC, CSCS, RSMT, CSMT

1 comment:

  1. Well Dave This is your favorite pine rider. I hope this offer is good my way also. Anyway my son Weston has played 6 years tackle, its his first year high school. I have a few question I will be asking you that are on my mind. I will get back to you It`s late. He is a Frazier Park, falcon. Eltjon school district. Thank You Dave I think this is very cool of you to offer. Your old team mate Wade W


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