The Sports Legacy Institute (SLI) is a non-profit organization focused on solving the concussion crisis by supporting education and research on the causes and effects of concussions and by helping to shape subsequent policy.   SLI’s mission is “to advance the study, treatment, and prevention of brain trauma in athletes and other at-risk groups.” SLI is one of PAR’s valued partners, sharing our commitment to creating connections and changing lives.

This month, SLI announced the launch of the California Concussion Coalition, and PAR was a proud sponsor of kick-off events in Los Angeles and Oakland. The goal of the coalition is “to provide student athletes in the community with the best-in-class resources available to protect them from concussions in sports.” Special guests at the August 20 kick-off event in LA included former NFL players Jim Brown, Michael Haynes, Jerry Simmons, and Shelby Jordan, as well as professional wrestler Rob Van Dam.

Concussion prevention is very important to us at PAR, and we are delighted to be working with an organization like the SLI, which supports education and research that will help protect young athletes from serious brain injury.  In terms of best-in-class resources, our concussion apps, including the award-winning CRR (for parents and coaches) and the CARE (for health care professionals), provide a simple and cost-effective way to help users quickly assess the likelihood of a concussion and take appropriate action. PAR donates 15% of the proceeds from the sale of each concussion app to support concussion research at the Children’s National Medical Center and the Matthew A. Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Have you had a chance to download one of our concussion apps? If not, click on the links above or find us at the Apple® App StoreSM or Google Play. And let us know what you think—PAR wants to hear from you, so leave a comment and join the conversation!
Concussions are in the headlines once again as awareness grows about a possible link between concussions and the permanent brain damage associated with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. The issue has far-reaching implications, including for one of the country’s most venerated institutions: the National Football League.

A major complaint filed last month against the NFL involving more than 2,400 former professional football players alleges that the NFL was not only aware of links between head injuries (such as concussions) and permanent brain injuries, but that they attempted to hide the information from players and the public. According to a June 30 AP report, “At issue is whether the NFL knew if there were links between football-related head trauma and permanent brain injuries and failed to take appropriate action.” Attorneys for retired players accuse the NFL of “negligence and intentional misconduct in its response to the headaches, dizziness, and dementia that their clients have reported.”

The league has denied the charges, stating, “The NFL has long made player safety a priority and continues to do so. Any allegation that the NFL sought to mislead players has no merit. It stands in contrast to the league’s many actions to better protect players and advance the science and medical understanding of the management and treatment of concussions” (Huffington Post, June 7).

According to a 2009 study commissioned by the NFL and conducted by the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research, former professional football players report being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other mental impairments at many times the national average. Although the study was based on interviews and self-reporting rather than on independent diagnoses, the results suggest an alarming rate of memory-related problems.

Amid the swirl of headlines, allegations, and denials, one thing is clear: concussion is a brain injury that must be taken seriously by those who work with athletes at every level. With this goal in mind, PAR has been working closely with researchers at the Matthew Gfeller Sport-related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, to develop tools that can help coaches, athletic trainers, and parents recognize the signs and symptoms of a concussion and respond appropriately. The Concussion Recognition & Response™ app (for parents and coaches) and the Concussion Assessment & Response™ app (for athletic trainers, team physicians, and other medical professionals) are the result of this collaboration.

Are attitudes toward concussion changing in your community? Is the recent media coverage helping to raise awareness about brain injuries? PAR wants to hear from you, so leave a comment and join the conversation!
The Concussion Recognition & Response™: Coach and Parent Version (CRR) from PAR has been nominated for the prestigious Appy Award!  One of three finalists in the medical category, the CRR is an app for mobile phones and tablets that allows parents and coaches to quickly check for the signs and symptoms of a concussion when a young athlete is injured on the playing field.

The Appy Awards will be held on March 19, 2012, in San Francisco.  Finalists this year include well-known apps and brands including Mint, HBO, MLB At Bat, Home Depot, The Daily, Flipboard, Telenav and Ask.com, and growing upstarts like Westfield Malls, Viggle, Wine Road, iCookBook and SlideShark.  Along with PAR’s CRR, the other nominees in the medical category are drchrono, an electronic health record (EHR) platform for physicians, and WebMD, a mobile version of the popular health information Web site.

Since its inception, the Appy Awards have been designed to include all devices and platforms, and finalists are carefully chosen by the Executive Jury from hundreds of thousands of eligible apps. This year’s Jury includes fifteen veterans from three industries: software development, advertising and marketing, and technology publishing.  To learn more about the Appy Awards, and to view the full lineup of categories and finalists, visit http://AppyAwards.net.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA), and partners from all across the healthcare spectrum are working together this month to spread the word about traumatic brain injury prevention, recognition, and response. PAR is proud to join these advocates in recognizing March as National Brain Injury Awareness Month.

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body that disrupts the normal functioning of the brain. Concussion is one of the most common forms of brain injury.

The CDC estimates that 1.7 million Americans sustain a TBI, including concussions, each year. Of those individuals, 52,000 die, 275,000 are hospitalized, and 1.4 million are treated and released from an emergency department.

“Since anyone can sustain a brain injury at any time, it is important for everyone to have access to comprehensive rehabilitation and ongoing disease management,” says Dr. Brent Masel, national medical director for BIAA. “Doing so eases medical complications, permanent disability, family dysfunction, job loss, homelessness, impoverishment, medical indigence, suicide and involvement with the criminal or juvenile justice system.”

Good sources of information about TBI signs and symptoms include the CDC’s Traumatic Brain Injury Web site, as well as their “Heads Up: Concussion in Youth Sports” program.  The BIAA “Anytime, Anywhere, Anyone” awareness campaign site is another excellent resource for understanding and disseminating information about brain injury.

PAR recognizes the importance of brain injury awareness.  To help address this problem, we have partnered with concussion experts from the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC and the Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center at UNC Chapel Hill to produce two new apps designed to help parents, coaches, athletic trainers, and medical professionals recognize and respond to potential concussions.  The Concussion Recognition & Response™: Parent and Coach Version and the Concussion Assessment & Response™: Sport Version are easy-to-use, inexpensive downloads for Apple® or Android™ smartphones, tablets, and other devices.  Click on the links to learn more—and help spread the word about National Brain Injury Awareness Month.

 

 

 

 
Editor’s Note: This week, PAR is pleased to welcome guest blogger Alex Trujillo. A senior at Holderness School in Plymouth, New Hampshire, Alex is an intern this summer in the production department at PAR. He recently had the opportunity to try out our new Concussion Recognition & Response™ app.

As a high school athlete, I experience the culture of sports in an acute way from the inside. Every day on the field, I am in an environment that perpetuates toughness, playing through pain, doing whatever it takes to win, and doing this all for the good of the team. While in principle this is not so horrible (even though it goes against the dogma that fun should be the underlying principle of amateur athletics), it is often taken too far in the wrong ways.

PAR’s Concussion Recognition & Response™ app is part of the growing trend that discourages “toughing out” injuries to the head, as these specific injuries can have extremely negative effects on an athlete if not handled properly. This trend challenges old–fashioned coaches who speak of the “glory days” when one played through absolutely any injury, coaches who believe that the new wave of players should embrace this antiquated ideology. The athletes of today are bigger, stronger, and faster than ever before. Yet some coaches put their athletes in danger by pushing them in ways that are perilous to their health. It is good for a coach to motivate and push a player to their physical limits and beyond. This is what good coaches do: They get the most out of every player on their team. However, some coaches try to push their players through injuries, such as concussions, without knowledge of the severity of the injury. Playing through strained muscles, soreness, bumps and bruises, aches and pains is all part of sports. However, a head injury is not something that can be “toughed out.” Research has shown that some cases of degenerative brain diseases, for example Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and various other ailments, can be attributed to continuous abuse of the head over the course of an athletic career. The culture of toughing out all injuries, including those to the head, needs to stop now. The first step towards a change in culture is education about the topic, which is what PAR’s new Concussion Recognition & Response app can help to do.

I have tried the app out myself, and it is very easy to use. It takes the user through a series of yes or no questions, listing symptoms of a concussion and whether or not the athlete displays any of those symptoms. Included are ways to record how the injury occurred, immediate and delayed symptoms, and GPS coordinates to show of the location of the incident.

It would make me feel safer and more supported as an athlete if this app was available on the sideline. If I were to sustain some kind of head trauma—get my “bell rung”—it would be comforting to know that an educated decision about whether to continue playing could be made, even when I was not in the presence of an athletic trainer.
A new Concussion Recognition & Response™ app from PAR allows coaches and parents to quickly determine whether an individual is exhibiting and/or reporting the signs and symptoms of a suspected concussion. In less than 5 minutes, coaches and parents can complete a checklist of possible signs and symptoms to help them decide whether to remove the child from play and seek medical attention. The app also provides home symptom monitoring for post-injury follow-up. Designed for the iPhone®, iPad®, iPod® Touch, or Android device or tablet, the app is now available for download from the Apple® App StoreSM or Android Market.

Using information from the CDC’s Heads Up: Concussion in Youth Sports program, the app guides users through a set of questions to determine the likelihood of a suspected concussion based on observations by the parent or coach as well as symptoms reported by the athlete. The device’s GPS records where the incident took place; its camera enables you to photograph the injured party; e-mail allows you to forward accurate information and documentation to a health care provider.

After follow-up with health care providers, the app enables a parent or caregiver to record a child’s symptoms through periodic evaluations, which are tracked during the hours, days, or weeks following an injury. This information can be e-mailed to health care professionals, providing an update on the athlete’s recovery.

The app also includes a Return-to-Play Guide that helps protect children and athletes from further injury by guiding them through a 5-step, tiered exercise routine. In collaboration with the child’s health care provider, parents and coaches can use the guide to ensure that the child is able to handle added exercise without further injury or discomfort. The app’s concussion information section provides general information about concussions along with answers to frequently asked questions for parents and coaches.

Users may customize the look and feel of the app with sport-related themes, including hockey, football, and lacrosse—and more themes will be available soon.

PAR’s Concussion Recognition & Response app was developed by concussion experts Gerard A. Gioia, PhD, and Jason Mihalik, PhD. Gioia is a pediatric neuropsychologist and the chief of the Division of Pediatric Neuropsychology at Children’s National Medical Center, where he directs the Safe Concussion Outcome, Recovery & Education (SCORE) Program. Mihalik is an assistant professor in the Department of Exercise and Sport Science at the University of North Carolina; he currently serves as the co-director of the Matthew A. Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center.

PAR will donate a portion of all proceeds from the sale of this app to support concussion research at the Children’s National Medical Center and the Matthew A. Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center.
Dr. Gerard Gioia was honored by the Children’s Miracle Network with the Children’s Miracle Achievement Award last week at the charity’s annual celebration in Orlando, Florida. Dr. Gioia was named as one of three caregivers of the year for his work and research on concussions.

Dr. Gioia is a pediatric neuropsychologist and chief of the division of pediatric neuropsychology at Children’s National Medical Center, the local Children’s Miracle Network hospital for the metropolitan Washington, DC area. Dr. Gioia’s work with the Safe Concussion Outcome, Recovery, and Education (SCORE) program centers on improving the way concussions in youth are treated as well as helping teachers, parents, coaches, and doctors to determine when it is safe for children to return to both school and play. Concussions make up between 80 and 90 percent of all brain injuries in the United States and account for more than 1,000,000 emergency room visits each year.

PAR congratulates Dr. Gioia on this achievement!


Dr. Gioia is coauthor of the Tasks of Executive Control™ (TEC™), the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function® (BRIEF®), the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function®–Preschool Version (BRIEF®-P), the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function®–Adult Version (BRIEF®-A), the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function®–Self-Report Version (BRIEF®-SR), and related software products.