Study: Athlete Concussion Protocol Might Be Ineffective

Apr 20, 2017

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Study: Athlete Concussion Protocol Might Be Ineffective

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A Wall Street Journal report on possible flaws with current concussion protocol may infer that athletes at various levels of competition—from high school all the way to the NFL—are at serious risk of reinjury. Current concussion protocol usually
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  1. Don Brady, PhD, PsyD, NCSP
    April 20th, 2017 at 9:35 am #

    The essence of this so called “novel content” seems to be repackaged older, well known and established concussion assessment /brain injury assessment concerns…they have oft not been adequately addressed.

    The below excerpts are from my 2004 PhD dissertation re Active & Retired NFL players’ knowledge of concussions…and a related article entitled:

    Why a concussion/brain injury evaluation needs to be both extensive and comprehensive ?

    The corresponding link to the article follows:

    https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/why-need-extensive-concussionbrain-injury-evaluation-don

    1- The adverse effects of a concussion are pervasive…and not limited to a few areas of the brain…as any part(s) of the brain may be damaged…thus more concussion symptoms will be readily noticed such as migraine headaches, multiple vision issues, slowness in thinking, mental fatigue and speech…when looking for these and other symptoms.

    2- Given the possibility of numerous and pervasive concussion-related symptoms emerging, an extensive concussion/brain injury evaluation needs to be conducted by a qualified multidisciplinary team of professionals whom are conflict of interest free. The team’s collaborative knowledge should assist in ruling in and ruling out the presence of adverse concussion symptoms. In addition, it is also essential to note that the absence of measured symptoms is not evidence that no concussion symptoms exist.

    Clinical observations along with corresponding tests used may not be sensitive enough to adequately detect and measure actual brain dysfunction/ impairment…

    3- Damasio (1994), during a case presentation in which he discussed a particular patient, also noted problems with tests not being sensitive enough to adequately measure brain dysfunction/ impairment; he declared that “a problem here lies with the test, not with the patients.

    The tests simply do not address properly the particular functions compromised and thus fail to measure any neurocognitive decline” (p. 41).

    4- A similar perspective pertaining to false conclusions was shared by McClelland (1996) when he cautioned, “…the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence” (p. 566).

    This view was reiterated by Gronwall (1991), who stated, “…it is impossible to prove the null hypothesis. Failure to show a deficit does not prove that no deficit exists, and the neuropsychologist [and other evaluators] have a responsibility to make sure that appropriate tests for assessment are selected” (p. 257).

    Don Brady, PhD, PsyD, NCSP
    Licensed Clinical Psychologist