SportsEvents Magazine

AUG 2017

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Page 12 of 67 August 2017 13 ONE- on- ONE t One-on-One features an interview with an influential member of the sports community concern- ing a specific topic. This month, President Scott Sailor, EdD, ATC, of the National Athletic Trainers' Association, discusses sports-related injuries and illness, and the recommendations of athletic trainers for sports health. Whether it's a scuffed knee or something more serious, participation in sports, as in life, carries some risk of injury or illness. Scott Sailor, President of the National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) said having an emergency action plan (EAP) and investing in the health of participants is necessary to minimize injuries and illness in sports. Athletic trainers (ATs) are skilled health- care professionals who advise and plan for emergencies and preventative care, and may provide emergency care, rehabilita- tive services or diagnosis for teams or at events. As licensed healthcare profession- als, ATs deal with a variety of medical con- ditions in amateur and professional sports. "One hot topic athletic trainers take very seriously is concussion. There are regu- lations in all 50 states about concussion recommendations, starting with the need to remove athletes from competition if there is any suspicion of concussion," Sailor said. "They should also follow the recommenda- tion to not allow a participant to return to play until cleared by a physician or other healthcare professional. The burden will come to the coach who oversees that team." The State of Washington passed a law in 2009 to address concussion management in youth sports. Now implemented in all 50 states to varying degrees, the law was the first to require "removal and clearance for return to play" for athletes following a head injury or concussion. "In the old days, we looked at a loss of consciousness as a warning but we under- stand now that a concussion can occur with or without a loss of consciousness. We also look at cognitive function: is the ath- lete confused, lethargic or having memory issues? We ask a series of questions about what happened prior to the event," Sailor said. "This assessment, called SCAT (Sport Concussion Assessment Tool), may raise suspicions of whether we are managing the athlete correctly. If a brain injury or con- cussion is suspected, the athlete should be pulled immediately and assessed. I would not delay too long in getting emergency medical treatment because early treatment and care is key." While much of the focus of studies and news reports has been on concussions and brain injuries in football, Sailor says serious head injuries also happen in women's soc- cer, men's soccer, cheerleading and even in individual sports such as tennis if the head takes a direct impact, though those instances, while possible, are less likely. "As athletic trainers, we advocate having baseline information on athletes, as best as possible, such as a balance assessment, frequency of injuries or other information that gives us a base of information," he said. "There are also apps on phones and game stabilization assessment tools avail- able to help but more needs to be devel- oped and people are working on tools to create objective measures we can use." Sailor advises those involved in youth sports to act quickly if concussion is sus- pected and he recommends rest and recov- ery for the athlete until cleared by a medical professional to return to play. Another area being discussed and researched is osteoarthritis, the breakdown and swelling of joints. "As athletic trainers, we try to prevent injuries at the front end that may lead to osteoarthritis later in life," Sailor said. "One way we try to prevent injuries is watching individuals to see if there are any abnormal movement patterns. ACL [anterior cruciate ligament] injuries eventually lead to osteo- arthritis and we want to delay that as best as possible. We do that by making sure the athlete is fully capable of returning to play. The human body is amazing and adaptable and performs complex tasks. Those tasks wear out our joints in normal ways. We want to look at all those ways and correct them with exercise in order to prolong the joint." Sailor says hips, knees, shoulders and elbows are the most common areas of inju- ry people typically think of with sports ► BY SHERRI MIDDLETON One- on- One Athletic Trainer Weighs In Sailor "Our goal is to keep people active for as long as possible. Maybe you are a runner and you can no longer run a marathon. We might get you in the pool instead. The idea is to look for ways a person can remain active and healthy and find an activity that doesn't cause problems on a particular joint." ''

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