Old School Food, New Age Results

Winter sports are up and running, spring (at least in Florida) will be here soon. Sharing thoughts from a recent article in Sports Illustrated Jan. 16, 2017, page 18, by Jamie Lisante. Nutrition is such a big part of an athletes performance and many are looking for healthy alternatives, more than a miracle in a bottle. Imagine becoming a bone broth & stock believer, rich in nutrients, which contain healing and connective tissue building compounds such as collagen and amino acids. Think, fresh seasonal vegetables with salted butter that yield complete proteins, good fats, and antioxidants. These are some recommendations by Dr. Cate Shanahan, nutritional consultant for the LA Lakers. She also recommends meats and fish that are grass fed or wild caught. No vegetable oils or bad fats such as cottonseed, canola or corn oil. Reduce sugar and relyiance on protein products and for a treat, try whole milk and organic dark cocoa powder. Avoid things that causes inflammation as well as empty starches. Most high school athletes are not privy to personal chefs but can take ownership to not rely on a bottle, bag or packaged and processed product. Learn to read food labels, take mom to the farmers market, search for economical options. Takes a little time, but think of the benefits for your improved performance and recovery. Jim Mackie, M.Ed, ATC, LAT

Psychological Considerations & Emergency Preperation for Athletes

With the holidays right upon us it’s a time for gratitude and reflection on the many blessings and freedoms we enjoy. Take some time, to reflect or refresh, it’s good for your own self care. Our mental health is such a valuable aspect and will actually be a primary focus of this years Seventh Annual JSMP First Coast Sports Injury Symposium, scheduled for April 21-22, 2017. At Jacksonville University. Day two will focus on Emergency Prepardness with some new wrinkles on tourniquets, wound packing, as well as head, spine & neck issues and heat illness. We are again planning to bring in some of the leading national experts in these areas and it should again be an outstanding program. We look to see your there so please save the date.

That time of year again

It’s that time again and it just seemed like yesterday we were starting summer practice. High school football playoffs are off and rolling and we end another year of sports which moves so fast. Seniors for the most part, face the end of their playing careers, others continue to dream. Time for the aches and pains neglected to rest and heal. Recovery is playing a more important role with elite athletes these days. Cryotherapy tanks are being used to heal tissue and intermittent extremity pumps are being utilized by more and more to gain an edge. Will they last, and real evidence be produced or will they be another trend or fad? Time will tell and time moves on, standing still for none. Time to put the equipment away and prepare for the future or as i’ve been fortunate to do… advance in the playoffs towards another possible state football championship. Living the dream.

Your ACL and Graft tissue

Recently, I was able to participate in the annual JSMP Symposium & Concussion Update entitled “Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes,” a comprehensive overview of a number of conditions.  Some interesting takeaways included, Jacksonville Jaguar Head Team Physician Dr. Kevin Kaplan  discussing ACL repairs that those patients under age 25 face a 25% failure rate when using a allograft (cadaver tissue). Those older than age 25 do best with a allograft if they are in low demand activities.  One’s patella tendon graft (autograft) is the best for a repair for those under age 25, followed by the Quadriceps tendon, Hamstring tendon or other graft selection.  A caution as well, although patients may feel great at about 2 months post op the graft is at its weakest and really takes up to 10 – 18 months to return to full vascularization and strength.  Return to play is best determined by a variety of functional tests as well as strength measurements.  Stay healthy!

Let’s all take a breath

IMG_1969With the recent admission by the NFL there exists a link between CTE from head injuries & football, emotions have run high.  One owner calling the link “absurd” to a coach saying you’re a “fool” if your don’t let your kid play football, it hits all spectrums.  Yes, there are many good reasons to play sports, particularly football such as it builds teamwork, character, relationships, teaches good life lessons,  and so much more.  On the other hand, from a safety perspective, could there be some change in the culture and maintain a “gladiator / true warrior mentality” of toughness, strength and competition?  One unfortunate aspect is coaches, parents and players rewarding or encouraging the violence in sport, living out their desires in a fantasy manner.  Another aspect is teasing the concussed, calling them “soft” or challenging if they really have a concussion. This only brings suspicions, doubt, depression, as well as other negative consequences and delays change.

The answer to the question raised is yes, changes need to be made and are coming.  Coaches would actually have to spend time teaching fundamentals, proper tackling techniques and re-inforcing “see what you hit” and not lowering the head or targeting.  Less contact in practice would help as well, overall reducing the injury rate and keeping players fresher through the long season.  A good place to start implementing change is with spring practice as coaches use the hitting portions to separate the weak from the strong.  Using spring to actually coach and teach whole probably bring about better execution.  During the fall practices with the younger or middle school kids I believe it would show we see higher rates of concussion and fractures as they are younger an less mature.  I once had a coach in late October still running Oklahoma drills, when questioned he responded “we still need to see who can hit.”

There will be resistance but can’t we work to find a balance?  Winning is great and I’ve been fortunate to be a part of some great championship teams but I also empathize with the pain when kids are injured as well.

Let’s work together to keep football (and all sports) in their proper perspective in life while growing and developing aspects to keep them all safe and enjoyable.  Come on now, take a breath and think about it.

AT Month

It’s National Athletic Training Month, a time to celebrate the work that so many do in so many diverse practice settings.  One new recognition is the way we identify ourselves, for example AT in the secondary school setting.  Hopefully it will help us all and better solidify the name Athletic Trainer, a name we have often struggled with. Personally, I’m happy with the term Athletic Trainer so let’s move on.

The significance of the NFL finally agreeing there is a link between football and the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) will bring change.  The challenge is to make the sport of football (and others too) safer as well as change the culture of the sport without diminishing it’s benefits.

Recently, I attended the SEATA annual meeting and one of the highlights of many is the relationships we share and multiple learning opportunities.  It was also my last as an elected officer and yes it was a little emotional.  My time of service in this fashion was most meaningful and certainly will find opportunities to contribute in some fashion in the future.  It’s a privilege to serve in any manner in our profession and if we want to be a part of the change we need to participate.  Become engaged in your profession and you will be the beneficiary.

Looking forward to the 6th annual First Coast Sports Injury Symposium and Concussion Update.  www.jsmp.us for program and registration.  Hope to see you there.

Keep them safe.

Always Learning

Winter is here and sports are in full swing. It’s also time for professional meetings and educational clinical symposiums. As a professional, time is always a challenge but I encourage each of us to take the time to keep learning. We can never “know it all” and certainly benefit from research, journals, symposium lectures and one to one sharing of ideas as to what is working. Personally, I’m looking forward to visiting with colleagues, get beyond the pleasantries (which are appreciated) and have some good learning conversations as well. So much is learned outside the conference room and through interpersonal discussions. It’ challenging but rewarding. In the words of Albert Einstein, “Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.”

Have a great time learning. All the best, stay healthy and happy, and don’t take yourself so seriously.

Your Team Physician

Team Physicians are a valuable resource to us all. As athletic trainers we serve under the direction of a licensed MD within operational protocols. They are great allies in our professional dealings with athletes, parents coaches, administrators and others we come in contact with. I have been blessed through the years with some outstanding Team Physicians who have served as both mentors and friends. Dr. Richard Shaara at UF was one of my first along with orthopedic surgeon Dr. Bill Allen. Dr. Shaara was wise & visionary in his approach to sports medicine. He was Innovative in drug testing, general medicine, a mentor to many AT’s and MD’s. Dr. Paul Shirley was my first introduction into orthopedic residents and we have been working together frequently nearly 40 years. We were discussing ACL surgery which once required about 2 and a half hours, two 15 inch incisions, plaster cast immobilization, transforming to a less than a 30 minute procedure with 2-3 small incisions, grafts and decreased healing and rehab time. Dr. Peter Indelicato at UF taught me many valuable lessons through examination, research and his innovations in surgery. He was one of the first to use arthroscopy when it was a visualized process thru a single hand held lens. While in Boston, I experienced a new speciality, Physiatry or physical medicine with Dr. William Fishbaugh, a very experienced MD and former college team physician. Over the past years here in Jacksonville, there have been a number of Orthopedic Surgeons and Family Medicine physicians I’ve been very fortunate to work with. Probably too many to mention and if I left out a name I would probably hear about it. All are wonderful professionals, each with their own special pearls and qualities.

Regardless of your setting, learn all you can and appreciate your Team Physician as they are one of the most valuable participants on your sports medicine team.

Spring Musings

Just returned from the Alabama Athletic Trainers Assoc., always a great education opportunity as well as a time to meet and spend time with fellow athletic trainers. Engaging with other colleagues enhances our knowledge base and provides quality time with others of similar interests in keeping our athletes healthy and safe.  Congratulations are in order for Brad Montgomery for his induction into the Alabama Athletic Trainers Assn. Hall of Fame.
Volunteered recently at the State High School Track Championship and though I had a relatively safe time I was proud of my colleagues on the following day, who along with EMS responded to a coach suffering a sudden cardiac arrest.  The week following a de-briefing was held and provided all involved a very positive and professional learning experience.  Unfortunately, for the victim, it was not a successful outcome but reminds each of us to prepare and be alert to respond as life happens so quickly. I would add the benefit of having colleagues you can share your feelings and emotions with as you process any difficult situation.
As well, I along with others, mourn the passing of Don Bostic, a former UF basketball player I cared for as well as Jeff Daniels, an athletic training student with me while a Graduate Assistant while at EKU (Eastern Kentucky).  Both Don & Jeff were very positive individuals who made an impact in their own ways upon the lives of many.  Our prayers are with their family and friends.
As we begin to wrap up the spring season, congratulation to the Trinity Christian Academy Baseball team headed for the State Championship games in Ft. Myers.  Spring football games are next week for myself and many. Best wishes and keep them safe now and in the months ahead.

Yours in Good Health!

Never Quit

The final four is completed, a new college basketball champ is crowned, every team but one goes home with a loss but it’s not the end of the world, thankfully.  It’s an extreme journey as are many of life’s challenges experiences. Life is fleeting and the value of CPR & an AED is invaluable.  The Associated Press reported recently a rare case of survival, a 22-month-old Pennsylvania boy whose lifeless body was pulled from an icy creek and revived after an hour and 41 minutes of CPR, 101 minutes!!  It took a team of 50 people to revive him and he is now doing well at home.  To what extremes will you go to save life?
An encouragement witnessed this week was meeting a young man, changed by an experience during his Jacksonville Sports Medicine Program pre-season medical screening.  He checked the box “heart races during exercise” which caused a closer look, further cardiac testing and even a corrective procedure that literally saved his life.  He thanked the Dr. for saving his life, his mom for letting him participate and his coach for taking him to the screening.  It truly was a life changing event. It’s worth the time to closely scan your physicals and medical questionnaires regularly.
Take the time to learn CPR and the value of an AED, you may actually change a persons life.