Tuesday, October 6, 2009

To Play Or Not To Play

If you're like me, you're already getting tired of reading about whether or not Tim Tebow is going to play this weekend.  At this point, I personally don't care.  I'm ready for an electric game in Tiger Stadium, and I'm ready for LSU's defense to bring it...regardless of who is playing quarterback for the Gators. 

So I'm not going to discuss this matter in terms of what advantages LSU would gain with Tebow out of the game or how the media and general public would discredit a win by LSU against a Tebow-less Florida team.  Those topics have been beat to death.   Instead, I decided to do a little research and offer up some other people's thoughts on the issue...the thoughts of medical professionals.  I was a little surprised at what I found.  Take a look. 

The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) issued a report titled Concussion In Sports:  Guidelines For Prevention Of The Catastrophic Outcome.  The report details the three grades of concussions.  Any loss of consciousness is categorized as a Grade 3 Concussion, the most severe of the three grades.  The report states, "After a grade 3 injury, the athlete may return to practice only after 2 full weeks without symptoms." 

The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) wrote an article titled Assessment and Management of Concussion in Sports.  The article details some of the concussion symptoms alluded to above by the JAMA report.  As you'd expect, they involve things like headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, sleep disturbances, etc.   Thus, it's important to refer back to the JAMA report which states that the athlete may return to action two weeks only after symptoms cease. 

The AAFP article also refers to several other studies that have issued guidelines for managing concussions.  Both the AAFP and JAMA reports refer to a study by the Colorado Medical Society, and this particular study recommends the following for ANY Grade 3 concussion:

"Transport to hospital. Return to play 1 month after injury if asymptomatic for 2 weeks."

The American Academy of Neurology (AAN) proposed another set of guidelines which are also referenced by the AAFP article.  For a Grade 3 concussion with loss of consciousness lasting more than a few seconds, they recommend, "Return to play after asymptomatic for 2 weeks." 

It's also important to discuss "Second Impact Syndrome" which is detailed by the AAFP study and states the following:

"Second-impact syndrome occurs in players who return to competition before the symptoms of a first concussion have completely resolved. A second blow to the head, even a minor one, can result in a loss of autoregulation of the brain's blood supply; this leads to a vascular engorgement and subsequent herniation of the brain that is usually fatal"

I'm not giving an opinion one way or the other as to whether Tebow plays or not.  Like I said, I don't care anymore.  But based on the above, I'd be a little surprised if he does play.  And if he does, I'd be even more surprised if he's able to play the way he normally does. (He's averaging almost 14 carries per game). 


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