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Parents and Coaches: Free Online Library about Concussions

December 31, 2011

A new online resource on concussions is available for parents, researchers, first responders, coaches and educational institutions.

The Sports Concussion Library was created by a team of doctors and specialists who, concerned about the overwhelming growing threat of concussions in sports and a general lack of how to prevent and treat the injury, created the site to provide both basic information and detailed, peer-reviewed papers on concussions.

There are more than 2,300 journal articles, 61 book chapters, concussion legislation on the federal, state and local levels, documentary videos, thesis research enteries and even a SCAT2 test (this is the tool that medical professionals use to assess whether a player has endured a concussion on the sidelines) which you can download.

The researchers behind the project make up a list of some of the best experts on concussions, like Dr. Robert Cantu, Dr. Michael J. Stuart and Dr. Charles Tator.  Ontario doctor and concussion researcher, as well as a team doctor for junior hockey teams, Paul S. Echlin, an leads the project.

You can search through the documents by sports–baseball, football, hockey, soccer and other contact sports. You can watch some of the most recent information on the topic, like a concussion primer for children and parents, a PBS documentary on high school football or the New York Times piece on the life and death of Derek Boogaard.

Athletes can search a list of topics relevant to their side of the sport and injury, including the concussion assessment tool and general information an athlete should know. On the site you’ll also find modules that will allow you to work your way through a few concussion related scenarios, asking you for the right decision. And there is a right or wrong decision. The point behind the modules is to provide an interactive learning tool to bring more awareness to the injury.

Everybody agrees there needs to be more awareness, especially since the death of three young hockey players from deaths that are thought to be related to concussions sustained in the sport of hockey, namely as enforcers.

Derek Boogaard is the most high-profile, a feared enforcer from a small town in Canada who worked his butt off to get into the NHL, but died this past May. He was 28, and the original cause of death was a combination of oxycotin and alcohol. His parents donated his brain to an organization that discovered he suffered from a degenerative brain disease, possibly caused by the concussions.

The other two recent deaths were Rick Rypien and Wade Belak. Rypien was in his late 20s and committed suicide. Belak was 35 and while it was originally treated as a suicide most believe it was accidental.

But concussions aren’t a problem for professional athletes only. In a recent University of Calgary study that looked  at over 9,000 11 to 12 year old hockey players, the researchers found that 700 had sustained concussions. During a study of his own in which he evaluated two junior league hockey teams over a season, Dr. Echlin discovered that the rate of concussion has risen seven times.

On a more personal note, as reported in Jeff Klein’s New York Times piece, Echlin said that he had a young player walk into his office one day and say he never wanted to play hockey again. He had already suffered two concussions. And he was only eleven years old.

Dr. Rick Lehman is a distinguished orthopedic surgeon in St. Louis, Missouri and an articular cartilage reconstruction pioneer. He owns U. S. Sports Medicine in Kirkwood, MO, and LehmanHealth. Learn more about Dr. Rick.

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