Thursday, December 29, 2011

Service Learning

The cornerstone of any health care profession is service, and in that spirit I will be leaving today for the Dominican Republic, where I'll be teaching an International Service Learning course to six of our current senior athletic training students.  This will be my tenth trip to a beautiful country with beautiful people.  We will work side by side with physicians, nurses, and hispanic study students as we travel village to village in remote settings to help provide medical care to those less fortunate.   I will be taking a couple of weeks off from blogging, but will start back up as soon as I return.
 The best part, although there are many, is that the student gets to work firsthand with the population and utillize their skills directly alongside faculty.  It makes for a truly unique and beneficial experience, for both teacher and student.  

Adios, mi amigos!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

NFL to Hire ATC's to Follow Concussion Protocols

Last week, the NFL announced it will hire independent ATC's to aid in making sure that teams are following concussion protocols.  You can read the article here.

This is fascinating to me for a number of reasons;
1.  This is more of an independent (although not entirely) approach to health care.  It's often discussed in certain circles that it is a potential conflict of interest to be employed by a business and also make proper health care decisions in the best interest of an employee.  That is, is the decision being made independently and in the athlete's best interest?  Or the organization?  It's an interesting question, and a difficult one to answer.  This is definitely a step in the right direction, in my opinion.
2.  It would seem that the NFL hold's ATC's in high regard, as they would hire them to insure that protocols are being followed.  Who better to evaluate real time concussion symptoms than an ATC? 
3.  The author of the articles uses the term trainer, which many of my colleagues would frown upon.  Me, not so much.  A good health care provider is a good health care provider.  Does a physician complain about being called "Doc"?  Maybe, I don't know.  But I do know that you can call me whatever you want, as long as I'm decent at what I do.   Let's focus our energy as a profession on other areas, such as clinical proficiency and following our position statements more closely in clinical practice.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Fish Oil: Fact or Fiction?

Let's face it, your athletes are taking supplements.  And you might be too.  So it pays to be informed.  I subscribe to Consumer Reports, and highly recommend it to anyone who would like to see what independent, third party inspection thinks of everyday products to use.  Let's face it, sometimes it's hard to be objective, so for a small sum of money each year, I can have access to all sorts of information which help me make more informed decisions, both personally and professionally. (No, I don't receive any compensation for stating this; it's my humble opinion).

That said, fish oil is being consumed fairly readily.  The question is, do your supplements contain what the label states?  In this case, all tested showed the amounts claimed on the label for DHA, EPA and omega 3 fatty acids.  Good news.

A snippet can be found here: 
At the bottom, click on the Fish Oil Ratings Chart; it charts out both efficacy and daily cost, which I thought was interesting.
You can read in much more detail if you already subscribe to Consumer Reports.

So what to do?  If you decide to take fish oil supplements, look for a USP label.  USP is a non profit which examines and verified authenticity of supplements.  More info on them here.
You can actually find a list of USP verified supplements here.  Again, it's no guarantee, but hopefully allows you to make a more informed decision/recommendation regarding supplement companies.

One last thought, you can likely obtain needed omega-3 by simply eating fatty fish a couple of times a week (salmon, etc.).  And remember, just because it's on the shelf to be sold, doesn't mean it's safe to consume. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Shoulder Dislocations

A current student sent me this link...and I just spent over two hours on it.
Of particular interest is this section on relocation techniques It offers an excellent review/tutorial of several techniques.  I think we can all appreciate the difficulty encountered when attempting to relocate; in fact, several ATC's will choose not to relocate.  However, situations may arise when a relocation may be advised (think occluded blood supply).
Even more beneficial, the site offers videos of actual techniques performed on real dislocations...a great tool to prepare for what you might encounter!
For a nice review of shoulder dislocations, check out this nice little video:

Thursday, December 8, 2011

What Price Victory

Just finished reading this excellent, excellent article in the NY Times on the late NHL hockey player Derek Boogaard.  It really makes you appreciate the sacrifice athletes make to reach the pinnacle of their sport.  So read, and feel free to share your thoughts!