Thursday, September 20, 2012

New Safety Devices for Football Players

Gotta love innovation. The Kerr Collar is being marketed as a way to absorb some of the impact forces during collisions in football.  Here's how it works:
What I really like about this is not just the way it's explained, but the process by which it's promoted/defended/marketed (I do not mean to use those terms negatively at all; it's simply necessary when pitching any product to consumers). Dr. Kerr sums up the anatomical implications quite nicely here.  He clearly has paid close attention to allowing neck extension to still occur (something it's predecessors limited).  This is very important, as you don't want to create an axial load to occur.  Key Point:  Disperse Forces Imposed over a Greater Area.  Check out his site:  It's incredibly self explanatory and about as user friendly of a site as I've seen.  If nothing else, watch it for a fantastic video of a mannequin getting hit. 

Preventing Horse Collar Tackles
Does anyone remember this play a few years back?  Not long ago, the "horse collar" tackle was actually a legal means to bring stop your opponent.  As you can see, it was very easy for the player being collared to suffer a serious injury.  The feet remained planted while momentum keeps the upper ody moving...aNd something's gotta give; be it a ligament, tendons, bones, etc.
Well, a new device has been recently approved for use .  The X Collar  which provides a tear-away component to the outer part of the football pad. It's a nice little snippet, first developed as a science project, which has since evolved into a product which is currently being marketed.  Be sure to check out the schematic design and short video at the end of the article.  Good stuff
 Let's face it, while an opponent might not want to hurt someone, it can be hard to teach them NOT to try and grab any available part of the the opponent in the middle of gameplay.  I love this.  Simple, and likely pretty effective.  We'll see if it catches on.  At less than $30, it can be a nice inexpensive way to help limit this, especially in the beginning or middle levels of football. 

Anybody have any thoughts on the possible limitations or negative consequences of these devices?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Classic AT: Taping an Ankle

Students: You asked for it, here it is.

So many times, I hear AT's and students upset that public perception is that we tape ankles and get ice. Not sure why, but it's never really  bothered me.  Yes, we do much more than that, but I'd be more concerned if we had NO public perception.  At least we are being noticed.

Anyway, a co-worker of mine is adamant about applying a clean, neat and functional taping technique.  He describes taping as an "ATC's signature".  I love that!  Take pride in it; make sure it works and don't try to rush it.  

When teaching traditional taping techniques to university students, I seem to find that while there are hundreds of variations and personal preferences on taping.  That said, the instructor HAS to teach one method for the student to capture the basics and learn the skill.  I frequently hear from clinical instructors questioning the technique involved when students displays their skills at a clinical site.  While I do teach one method; it is just that; one method.  I fully expect each student's taping to evolve as they progress clinically, and even encourage it.  However, there are several taping basics which can easily be lost or discarded over time. We should be sure that the evolution is one of sound clinical reasoning and not just clinician preference.  This can potentially decrease the effectiveness of the tape itself, delaying rehabilitation or even exacerbating the injury.
Some general rules on taping:
The first assumption here is that I am discussing taping an injured ankle, not simply taping a healthy one. 
1.  Avoid continuous tape.  This means don't wrap with one or two long strips of tape completely circling the joint.  Use smaller, shorter strips for greater tensile strength.  An added danger with continuous tape is that it may only provide compression, not support.

2.  Know what you are taping for.  In this video, we are taping to help lock the talus into the ankle mortise. I am applying a basic variation of the closed basket weave taping technique.
3.  Overlap the tape by half all the time, and you will have both a neat AND functional taping.
4.  I've heard colleagues say for years that taping with white tape is going out the door.  This, coupled with the proliferation of over the counter braces and advances such as  Kinesio tape (among others) certainly would lend credence to that argument.  However, I think that sometimes nothing beats regular tape.  In addition, much like anything in health care, I think it's more damaging to completely discard something when a) it still works for some athletes and some injuries, and b)it's the athlete's preference.  At the end of the day, I think that's what drives the discussion for me.
5.  Make sure it's latex free.  Most, but not all tape is nowadays.  Be sure to ask and double check before applying directly to your athlete!

Lastly, I'm not against other styles of taping, nor am I against bracing.  As an educator I believe that all are beneficial when used correctly, and it's up to the ATC, athlete and injury to determine which is the best specific tool for that specific scenario.

Random Question: When did we start calling these "Ankle Tape Jobs"?  Does "Nice ankle taping." not suffice?  Does anyone know the origin of the phrase "tape jobs"?  It is so awkward sounding; both to type and speak.