NCAA Adopts New Guidelines To Tackle Concussions in College Football

October 1st, 2014 Comments off

Football player holding helmetNew NCAA guidelines this year prevent college football teams from conducting more than two live contact practices per week during the football season, in an attempt to reduce the athletes’ risk of concussion and injury. The new guidelines released in July also address best practices for diagnosing and managing concussions.

The Ivy League and the Pac-12 already have live-contact practice rules, but until this year, there were no NCAA-wide guidelines. Although these guidelines are not yet NCAA legislation, Dr. Brian Hainline, the NCAA’s chief medical officer hopes the guidelines will begin a cultural shift in college sports, he told CBS Sports.

Will these hitting guidelines result in fewer concussions among college football players? Dr. Vernon Williams of the Kerlan-Jobe Center for Sports Neurology. gives his perspective on the new guidelines.

“The concept to reduce concussions by reducing the number of contact practices should theoretically reduce the number hits, exposure, and risk of concussion for student athletes,” said Williams. “However, there has been some controversy over the years as to whether more concussions occur in practice or in games, and there are different sets of data to support each perspective.” Read more…

Meet the Kerlan-Jobe Sports Medicine Fellows – Gregory Pinkowsky

September 27th, 2014 Comments off

Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic is a preeminent center for research and education in orthopaedics andsports medicine. Started in 1973, the Kerlan-Jobesports medicine fellowship program is one of the country’s largest and most respected medical training programs of its kind. Each year Kerlan-Jobe welcomes a select group of the nation’s finest young doctors. The latest group of Fellows joined us recently and over the next few weeks, we will introduce them to you here the Kerlan-Jobe Blog.

Gregory Pinkowsky, MD, Kerlan-Jobe Sports Medicine Fellowship Program

Gregory Pinkowsky, MD, Kerlan-Jobe Sports Medicine Fellowship Program

Gregory Pinkowsky, MD

Gregory Pinkowsky, M.D. is a graduate of Penn State University and Penn State Hershey College of Medicine. He completed his residency at Penn State Hershey Milton S. Medical Center.

Dr. Pinkowsky made the decision to practice sports medicine because he wanted to help people recover from injuries and return to the activities they love. He applied to the Sports Medicine Fellowship Program at Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic because of the clinic’s “stellar reputation, large alumni network, and resources for research.”

During his time at Kerlan-Jobe, Dr. Pinkowsky says he is most looking forward to “learning cutting edge techniques, working with professional athletes, and becoming a better surgeon.” His specialty focus is in arthroscopic treatment of shoulder, knee, and elbow injuries.

Dr. Pinkowsky finds his inspiration in this quote by Coach John Wooden: “Success is never final; failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts.”

“This quote reminds me that there are highs and lows in life, and every day is a new beginning,” he says.

Outside of work, Dr. Pinkowski enjoys watching football and baseball, working out, and running on the beach. If he had decided to pursue a career other than sports medicine, he says he would have become an architect.


How Brain Training Can Prevent Injury and Improve Athletic Performance

September 3rd, 2014 Comments off

human brainJust like athletes train their muscular and cardiovascular systems to improve performance and prevent injury, there is a growing understanding in the sports medicine field that practicing specific brain training activities can also help improve performance and prevent injury.

Training the brain to prevent injury

Studies looking at athlete’s reaction time have linked a slower reaction time to increased musculoskeletal sprain and strain injuries, specifically ankle injuries and knee injuries, explained Dr. Vernon Williams, of the Kerlan-Jobe Center for Sports Neurology.

“The concept is that your brain is ordering these different muscles to contract and react — like a microprocessor communicating between nerves and joints, and nerves and the spinal cord as you’re moving.”

By specifically training the brain to improve balance and reaction times, athletes can improve the communication between the brain and the body, thus reducing risk of injury and improving performance.

Evidence shows that an athlete who has suffered a knee injury, or even had knee surgery, will only benefit so much from strengthening the muscle. The real benefit in preventing a secondary injury and getting the athlete back to his or her pre-injury performance level comes when the athlete begins to train the nervous system, specifically focusing on nerves that control balance and reaction time. Read more…

Meet the Kerlan-Jobe Sports Medicine Fellows – Mark Sando

August 28th, 2014 Comments off

Each year, Kerlan-Jobe welcomes a select group of the nation’s finest young doctors as Sports Medicine Fellows.  Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic is a preeminent center for research and education in orthopaedics and sports medicine.  Started in 1973, the Kerlan-Jobe Sports Medicine Fellowship Program is one of the country’s largest and most respected medical training programs of its kind.  We are pleased to introduce each of the 2014-2015 fellows in this blog series.

Mark Sando, M.D., Kerlan-Jobe Sports Medicine Fellowship Program

Mark Sando, M.D., Kerlan-Jobe Sports Medicine Fellowship Program

Mark Sando, M.D.

Mark Sando, M.D., is originally from Buffalo, New York. He received his undergraduate degree from Canisius College in Buffalo and attended medical school at Case Western Reserve University. He then went on to the University of Maryland where he completed his residency.

“I enjoy working with a motivated patient population and helping them to recover and return to the activities they enjoy,” Dr. Sando says of his decision to practice sports medicine.

He says the choice to complete his fellowship at Kerlan-Jobe wasn’t difficult. “The clinic’s outstanding reputation as a center for clinical care, teaching, and innovation made it an easy choice.”

During his time at Kerlan-Jobe, Dr. Sando says he is most looking forward to developing his skills as a sports medicine physician, and “sitting on the glass at the Kings games.” His specialty focus is in shoulder and knee arthroscopy and reconstruction.

Dr. Sando says he finds inspiration in this quote by Thomas Jefferson: “The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.”

“I like the emphasis this quote places on personal responsibility,” he says.

Outside of work, Dr. Sando said he enjoys watching football (Go Bills!), playing golf, and skiing. If he had decided to pursue a career other than medicine, he says he would have become a chef with the goal of opening his own restaurant.


Meet the Kerlan-Jobe Sports Medicine Fellows – Michael Stanton

August 26th, 2014 Comments off

Each year, Kerlan-Jobe welcomes a select group of the nation’s finest young doctors as Sports Medicine Fellows.  Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic is a preeminent center for research and education in orthopaedics and sports medicine.  Started in 1973, the Kerlan-Jobe Sports Medicine Fellowship Program is one of the country’s largest and most respected medical training programs of its kind.  We are pleased to introduce each of the 2014-2015 fellows in this blog series.

Michael C. Stanton, MD, Kerlan-Jobe Sports Medicine Fellowship Program

Michael C. Stanton, MD, Kerlan-Jobe Sports Medicine Fellowship Program

Michael C. Stanton, MD

Michael C. Stanton, MD, is originally from Rochester, New York. He received his Bachelor of Science from Rochester Institute of Technology and Doctor of Medicine from the SUNY Upstate Medical University. After graduating from medical school, Dr. Stanton completed his residency at University of Rochester.

Dr. Stanton chose to practice sports medicine because he wanted to “help patients overcome their injuries and return to a high level of physical function.” He is excited about the opportunity to work with the premiere Sports Medicine Surgeons of Kerlan-Jobe who are taking care of elite athletes. “I am most looking forward to the personal one on one time with Attendings [physicians], learning in both the clinical and surgical setting,” he says.

If he had not pursued medicine, Dr. Stanton says he doesn’t know what he might have done instead.  “I honestly am not sure.  I have wanted to become a physician since I was a young child,” he says.

Dr. Stanton says that his favorite quote is an inspirational one.  “‘You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.’  You will never achieve your goals if you don’t try,” he says.

When he isn’t practicing medicine and working with athletes, Dr. Stanton says his favorite sport is basketball.


Tips to Stay Safe on the Beach

August 21st, 2014 Comments off

beachAs summer is winding to an end, many families across the country are getting in one last trip to the beach before school starts again.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the beach presents a number of dangers to beach goers, including rip currents, shorebreaks, lightning strikes, tsunamis, sharks, jellyfish, and sunburn. Popular beach sports such as surfing and body boarding, and sand volleyball can also pose risk of injury.  Keep your family safe while having fun with these helpful tips.

• Wear sunscreen. Sunburns are the most common beach-related injury. Every time you get sunburned, you significantly increase your risk of developing skin cancer. Keep yourself protected with a broad spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 15 or greater. Hats, umbrellas and protective clothing can also help prevent sunscreen.

• Get familiar with sports equipment. In many cases, fractures, or dislocated shoulders, wrists and ankles occur as a result of inappropriate use of water sports equipment, like surfboards and body boards. If you’re new to body boarding or surfing, be sure you receive appropriate training on how to use the equipment.

• Wear shoes. Not only can the sand on the beach get very hot and burn the soles of your feet, you never know what might be hidden under the sand. Sharp objects like broken glass are a hazard to anyone barefoot beach goers.

• Watch for beach warning signs. Beaches have different colored flags and warning signs indicating strong surf and currents or rough or dangerous waves. The colors and meanings vary by beach and state, so be sure you find out what each color signifies at your particular beach.

• Only swim in areas with a lifeguard on duty. According to the CDC, most beach drownings occur on beaches not guarded by a lifeguard. Avoid getting into the water in areas not designated as a swim area with a lifeguard on duty. Lifeguards know what to watch for and are trained to deal with dangerous water conditions.

• Pay attention to the weather. Summer storms can arrive and escalate quickly, and can bring with them serious risks to beachgoers who remain shoreside.  Rip currents are powerful currents of water that can quickly pull a swimmer under water. Shorebreaks are an unpredictable and dangerous ocean condition that occurs when waves break directly on the shore. Shorebreaks can result in serious neck and spinal injuries to even the most experienced surfers and swimmers. Dozens of people are killed lightning every year in the United States. Recently, 14 people were injured at one person killed by lightning on Venice Beach in California.  When in doubt, stay out of the water until the storm passes.

Although injuries or death by many of these ocean dangers are rare, injuries such as fractures, breaks, sprains and strains, and dislocations that occur while participating in beach sports are much more common.

Keep your beach experience safe by using common sense.  If an emergency situation should arise, notify the lifeguard or call 911.  For non-emergency injuries, many beach communities have resources you can use to find local medical assistance.  Be safe and have fun!


Preventing Concussions in High School Athletes

August 4th, 2014 Comments off

high school football team scrimmage practice

Photo By: K.M. Klemencic

The rate of concussions in high school athletes more than doubled between 2005 and 2012, according to a new study published in The American Journal of Sports Medicine.

That increase isn’t necessarily due to the fact that more student athletes are being injured, but is likely due to an increase in awareness and education about concussions.

“I believe what is explaining the increase is the increased awareness, not that sports are more dangerous,” said lead researcher Dr. Joseph Rosenthal, an assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Ohio State University. “It’s just that the concussions are being recognized more, which is good news.”

The education about concussions isn’t simply about awareness and detection, but also about prevention.

“Concussion prevention comes down to a few different things,” said Dr. Vernon Williams of the Kerlan-Jobe Center for Sports Neurology. “From sport-specific technique to wearing proper equipment and strengthening the neck, there are a number of steps athletes, parents, and coaches can take to help prevent the occurrence of a sports concussion.”

Dr. Williams offers these tips for concussion prevention in the student athlete:

• Avoid collisions — Collision sports like football, wrestling, and have some of the highest concussion rates in young athletes. Teaching athletes proper technique to avoid collisions with the head can help reduce the likelihood of concussions in these sports. Tackling technique, keeping the head up, not leading with the head and other technique-related education is important for student athletes.

• Wear properly fitting headgear — A properly fitting helmet worn in the right position can also help prevent concussions. There is even some emerging data from the University of West Virginia that suggests some helmet types and brands better protect against consussions than others.

• Focus on strengthening the neck — Athletes who have strong necks have some protective benefit because a strong neck stabilizes the head and spine better, is less prone to forces of impact, and therefore less prone to concussions. Isometric neck strengthening, particularly in football, soccer, and other collisions sports can help reduce an athlete’s risk of concussion for both boys and girls.

• Stay hydrated — Hydration is often overlooked when it comes to concussions, but it is another important factor to consider. Dehydration causes significant changes in mental function and reaction time, thus putting an athlete at a greater risk of injury or concussion. Even minimal dehydration can increase an athlete’s concussion risk.

• Train the brain — Training the brain to improve vision, balance, reaction time, and speed of mental processing allows an athlete to better protect him or herself, therefore reducing risk of concussion.

In addition to these tips, Dr. Williams stresses the importance of removing an athlete suspected of suffering a concussion from play immediately and not allowing the athlete to return to play until the brain is healed. Second concussions most often occur within 10 days of the first concussion. When an athlete is returned to play too soon, he or she is at increased vulnerability of suffering a second concussion because the brain hasn’t regained its function and speed of mental processing.

Click here to watch a discussion on concussions in sports with Dr. Vernon Williams, Director of the Kerlan-Jobe Center for Sports Neurology and Pain Medicine.

To learn more about concussions, including sports concussions, prevention, treatment and symptoms of concussions, visit the Centers for Disease Control page on Traumatic Brain Injury.



Pitching Rehab: Is the Interval Throwing Progression Really Best?

July 22nd, 2014 Comments off

pitcher throwing baseball

As a pitcher rehabs from an elbow or shoulder injury that required surgical intervention, he must complete a multiphase rehabilitation program known as the interval throwing progression as he works his way back to the mound.

The interval throwing progression has been part of baseball rehabilitation and conditioning for decades, but little was known about the upper extremity loads an athlete is subjected to during this progression.

“Much of what is done in baseball rehab is done simply because we’ve always done it this way,” said Karen Mohr, PT, Director of the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Foundation. “There’s not always a lot of science behind it.”

Researchers at Kerlan-Jobe wanted to take a look at whether or not this throwing progression is the most effective and efficient method of pitching rehab. Sports medicine doctors and physical therapists at Kerlan-Jobe evaluated the loads on the shoulder and elbow during the interval throwing progression and published their results in the report Biomechanical Comparison of the Interval Throwing Program and Baseball Pitching. Read more…

Kinesio Tape: Can this trendy tape benefit athletes?

July 20th, 2014 Comments off

WhAthlete wearing kinesio therapeutic  tapeen nineteen-year-old Nick Kyrgios defeated Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon, tennis fans were talking about more than his impressive talent on the tennis court; social media was abuzz about the “tattoo” on his forearm.  However, what fans thought was a long strip of tribal body art extending from his right wrist up into his sleeve was actually elastic therapeutic tape, also known as “kinesio tape.”

Athletes in a variety of professional sports, including tennis, golf, World Cup soccer players and Olympic athletes, have recently been seen sporting the tape.  In her “ice bucket challenge” video, Michelle Wie is seen with bright blue tape crisscrossing her left leg. But does this trendy tape have any real therapeutic value?

The tape is used to provide muscle and joint support for athletes without restricting movement.  But since the last time we reported on kinesio tape, there is still no real scientific evidence that the tape provides any benefit to athletes.  Those who tout the benefits of the tape claim that it works by lifting the skin, reducing pressue and relieving pain and swelling.  However, other scientists suggest that the tape has little more than a placebo effect for the athletes who use it.

Read more about kinesio tape here.


Summer Sports: Wakeboarding & ACL Injury

June 30th, 2014 Comments off

Wakeboarding is a relatively new sport, invented in 1985 by San Diego surfer Tony Finn. Over the last three decades, the sport has evolved from a recreational experiment into a competitive water sport that combines techniques used in water skiing, snowboarding and surfing.

Because the sport is so new, there is little research on the types of common wakeboarding injuries. However, the extreme stunts performed in wakeboarding put athletes at a high risk of a lower extremity injury. In fact, one 2012 study published in the journal Sports Health: A Multidisciplinary Approach identifies knee injuries as some of the most prevalent among wakeboarding, even ranking wakeboarding among some of the most dangerous sports for the knees.

In the study, researchers from Emory University in Atlanta and the Center for Sports Medicine and Orthopaedics in Chattanooga surveyed professional and amateur wakeboarders seeking information on history of ACL knee injuries. Of the survey respondents, 42 percent said they had suffered an ACL tear while wakeboarding.

The prevalence of ACL tears found in the study ranks among the highest injury in sports. According to the research, the primary mechanism of injury involves axial compression when landing a jump or stunt.

An ACL knee injury typically requires surgical reconstruction and months of rehab following the injury. While some ACL injuries may be treated with non-surgical methods such as physical therapy, an ACL injury often requires one of several surgical options to successfully restore knee strength and stability.

Kerlan-Jobe Fellow Works with ASU Wake Devils Wakeboarding Team

Last month, Ossur sponsored Dr. Tim Bert, Kerlan-Jobesports medicine fellow who now works in Arizona to accompany the Arizona State University Wake Devils wakeboarding team to the National Wakeboarding Championships in Las Vegas as full-time medical staff. Dr. Bert and other staff worked with the athletes to prepare them for competition in an effort to reduce the athlete’s risk of injury.

Wake Devils Welcome OSSUR/CTI from Wake Devils on Vimeo.