Athletic TIPS™ (Towards Injury Prevention in Sports), a not-for-profit, national organization founded by the Foundation for Chiropractic Education that provides education and drives expanded awareness around the role of multidisciplinary care in the recognition, prevention and management of sports-related injuries, conducted a free community workshop for parents, coaches, trainers and educators involved in student athletics on Oct. 29, 2013, at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Fla. The workshop, "Concussion Prevention and Recognition," focused on CDC recommendations and guidance on concussion management.
Featuring special appearances by Dolphin linemen Mike Pouncey and John Jerry, as well as head athletic trainer Kevin O'Neill, the program was developed and conducted by TIPS-certified faculty members:
- Spencer Baron, DC, Miami Dolphins team doctor & chairman, TIPS Professional Advisory Board
- Alan Sokoloff, DC, Baltimore Ravens team doctor & chairman of TIPS Education & Certification
- Jay Greenstein, DC, Washington Redskins Cheerleaders team doctor & TIPS Director of Certification.
The entire program was videotaped – including a voiceover by Michael Strahan, arranged courtesy of Ed Goren, FOX Sports – and will be edited for posting on the soon-to-be unveiled website, www.tips4sports.org. Additional support from Foot Levelers and Performance Health enhanced the experience for all attendees.
Coordination With Multidisciplinary Professionals
"Athletic TIPS™ is a game-changer for all healthcare professionals, with doctors of chiropractic and others taking the lead in every community nationwide to conduct educational, grass-roots workshops that support the prevention and treatment of common athletic injuries," said Kent Greenawalt, chairman of Athletic TIPS™, noting that certification and training programs will be conducted at Parker Seminars in January 2014 and throughout the year. "DCs are among the professionals who are well-positioned to lead these discussions and conduct workshops in their home communities, utilizing turnkey programs and marketing support from Athletic TIPS™. This is an unparalleled opportunity to connect with local teams and their parents, families and teachers."
One of the goals of Athletic TIPS™ is to facilitate relationships between doctors of chiropractic and other healthcare professionals involved in the management of sports injuries, including medical doctors, nurses, athletic trainers, physical therapists and sports psychologists. All workshop leaders will be encouraged to invite professionals to attend and/or share their presentation time.
Dr. Baron pointed to his relationship with Kevin O'Neill as an example of the benefit of forging these partnerships: "The opportunities for cross-referral are significant and can work to the advantage of the DC," said Dr. Baron. "Athletic Trainers are natural allies for chiropractors and open many avenues for coordination of care."
O'Neill presented at the recent Miami event, offering his support for Athletic TIPS™: "This program really supports the importance of sports safety and it merits the attention of everyone involved with student athletes."
Greenawalt explained that the individual doctors need not be trained or focused on sports injuries, but can leverage Athletic TIPS™ as a marketing platform to bring the doctor closer to the community and referral sources. Doctors may request to schedule an Athletic TIPS™ workshop in their local area, and invite parents, coaches, trainers and educators of amateur youth sports teams to attend – male or female athletes of every age and for every sport.
Thanks to a grant from Foot Levelers, Athletic TIPS™ "Train the Trainer"™ certification programs empower doctors of chiropractic and other providers to handle the entire process, from identifying and securing a venue for each event to delivering content on specific workshop topics that can be scheduled throughout the year, including:
- Concussion Prevention and Recognition
- Preventing Dehydration and Heat-related Conditions
- Nutrition in Sports Management
- Recognizing, Preventing and Managing Musculoskeletal Injuries
Each participant will receive an Athletic TIPS Playbook™ that includes PowerPoint presentations with approved content, as well as a press kit with media releases, public-service announcements and other materials, along with guidelines for implementation. Promotional items and support will be provided for each event.
"We created these programs specifically for doctors to take the lead in addressing sports injuries," said Dr. Baron. "Upon certification, each doctor can begin to implement workshops and take advantage of all the opportunities that unfold as a result. Never before has such a program gotten underway, and there will be an incredible set of tools that are designed to help doctors market their practices."
Dr. Baron added that if the Miami event is any indication of the anticipated market receptivity for Athletic TIPS™ workshops and programs, "we have a sure-fire winner!" He pointed to some of the audience reactions to the workshop that validate the program's value:
- "I learned more in this 45-minute workshop than I did in 15 years of coaching football." – Lou Sandora, high-school football coach
- "This was one of the most informative programs I have ever attended." – Doreen Small-Mercer, high-school women's track and field coach ... and parent
- "This is important for parents and teachers." – Alberto Gamarra, school psychologist
Sports Injuries Impact Student Athletes
With concussion now recognized as a silent epidemic among the nation's youth, the recent workshop in Miami was of great importance. Sports-related injuries account for nearly 8,000 emergency room visits daily – 2.9M per year – and close to 50 fatalities annually, according to expert reports. Statistics released by the National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) reveal:
- Forty-eight youths died as the result of sports injuries in the past year.
- Per year, high school athletes sustain 300,000 head injuries, 90 percent of which are concussions.
- High-school athletes account for 500,000 doctor visits and 30,000 hospitalizations each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A major report recently issued by The Institute of Medicine (IOM) says far too little is known about the risks in youth sports, especially for athletes who suit up before high school.
This is not just a concern for football, since the IOM found that no one knows how often the youngest athletes suffer concussions or which sports have the highest rates. Nor is it clear if better headgear ever will help. Together with the National Research Council, the IOM called for a national system to track sports-related concussions and start answering those questions.
"Going forward, research may well become a component of the Athletic TIPS™ platform," added Greenawalt. "We intend to align with respected research centers and institutions that will generate credible data and results."
Authorities say that reports of sports concussions are on the rise, amid headlines about former professional players who suffered long-term impairment after repeated blows. Recent guidelines make clear that anyone suspected of having a concussion should be taken out of play immediately and not allowed back until cleared by a trained professional.
"This is one of the key messages that we deliver during our workshops," said Dr. Baron. "When in doubt, sit them out!"
He pointed out that although millions of U.S. children and teens play school or community sports, it's not clear how many suffer concussions, in part because many go undiagnosed. According to the recent report, among people 19 and younger, 250,000 were treated in emergency rooms for concussions and other sports- or recreation-related brain injuries in 2009, up from 150,000 in 2001.
"It's important to note that rates vary by sport," said Dr. Baron. "For male athletes in high school and college, concussion rates are highest for football, ice hockey, lacrosse and wrestling. For females, soccer, lacrosse and basketball head the list. Women's ice hockey has one of the highest reported concussion rates at the college level."
However, there's no similar data to know how often younger children get concussions, whether on school teams or in community leagues, the IOM panel said.
Another question often posed is, "Could safety gear prevent kids' concussions?" The report cautioned that while some equipment ads make that claim, there's little scientific evidence that current sports helmet designs or other gear, such as face masks or headbands for soccer, really reduce the risk.
"Our workshops make special note of this," emphasized Dr. Baron.
The report also found that every state except Mississippi has passed a concussion law since Washington started the trend in 2009, prompted by a 13-year-old who suffered permanent disability after returning to a football game despite a concussion. The laws address such things as criteria for removal from play and standards for return-to-play decisions, but the report said most are in the early stages of being implemented.
"We update this information on state laws for every workshop so that attendees get current information on the statutes in their given states," explained Dr. Baron.
The IOM report also said:
- Youths who've already had a concussion are at higher risk for subsequent ones.
- Calls for a "hit count" to limit the number of head impacts in a week or a season make sense, but there's no evidence to say what that number should be.
- Sports officials should examine if there are age-specific rules to make play safer, such as Canadian youth hockey's no-checking rule for the youngest players.
"This type of information is not intended to scare parents into pulling their kids out of sports," concluded Dr. Baron. "We intend to empower our attendees with information that will lead to a safer experience for student athletes. The positive aspects of sports and physical activities greatly outweigh the negatives that are associated with participation."
Source: Foundation for Chiropractic Progress
Athletic TIPS™ (Towards Injury Prevention in Sports) is the only not-for-profit national organization that provides education and drives expanded awareness around the role of multi-disciplinary care in the recognition, prevention and management of sports-related injuries. Introducing opportunities for optimized health that enhance athletic performance, Athletic TIPS™ offers education and community workshops designed for amateur athletes K-12 through college, as well as their parents, coaches, trainers, and educators. Athletic TIPS™ implements grassroots initiatives in communities from coast-to-coast and potentially abroad. Athletic TIPS™ is a program of the Foundation for Chiropractic Education (www.yes2chiropractic.org).