Thursday, August 19, 2010

AT&T Metroplex HS Hockey League introduces new Concussion Policy

The AT&T Metroplex HS Hockey is taking an aggressive stance to prevent and reduce the number of concussion injuries among players who play in the league. And to educate players, coaches and parents about the dangers of concussions and how to treat them and the danger of ignoring symptoms and after effects of concussion and brain injuries.

As for the 2010-2011 AT&T Metroplex HS Hockey League season, they has been no official word on how many teams will play this season. Also even though no schedule has been released, the season traditionally starts on the Thursday in October which this year is on October 7.

The league back in 2003 went to a two Tier Varsity Level with a separate Gold & Silver Tier Divisions. They will also be a new Varsity Elite League with 6 Regional Teams looking to find the best possible HS Players that could find themselves playing in the higher level travel teams like the Alliance Bulldogs, the Dallas Ice Jets and the Dallas Stars Selects if they are talented enough. Junior Varsity will also have the Gold & Silver Tier Formats as well this season.

All these divisions are separate and for the most part will not play games against different tiers except for a handful of preseason games which will happen during a preseason showcase coming up in Mid-September.

Look for the schedule and Division Alignment when they come out, also the schedule for the Dallas Stars Elites which plays in the Tier 1 Elite League is scheduled to come out sometime this week.

From the Dallas Stars Website

AT&T Metroplex HS Hockey Website

Talk of teens and the dangers of concussions conjures up images of high school football players and the violent collisions seen on football fields across North Texas every fall.

But the regions leading concussion experts are calling for more awareness and new prevention programs for high school athletes in other sports, especially youth hockey leagues. Together, Texas Health Ben Hogan Sports Medicine and the Dallas Stars are implementing a strict, new concussion policy for the AT&T Metroplex HS Hockey League.

"It is critical that we treat young athletes more conservatively then we have in the past." said Dr. Jim Sterling, a physical medicine physician on the medical staff at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas who severed as head physician for the 2006 Winter Olympic Team. "New evidence-based research on concussion gives health care professional guidelines for not only safe return to play but, more importantly, optimal return to classroom learning. Academics should be consideration of any conservation concerning sports concussions."

The new concussion policy for the AT&T Metroplex HS Hockey League will be implemented for the 2010-2011 season. The new policy requires an ImPACT baseline test for all athletes prior to starting play. The computer based ImPACT Test est. each athletes baseline neuro-cognitive function.

If a player has signs or symptoms of a concussion, they can't go back into the game - and are automatically put on a 14 day disabled list. They may return sooner if they see an ImPACT credentialed physician who can use the post injury ImPACT test comparison to their baseline test. "Concussion symptoms can be very subtle," Dr. Sterling said, "But can significant enough to pose a great risk to the athlete. That's why this new policy is so important."

A player who hasn't sufficiently healed from his initial concussion is vulnerable to a second impact Brain injury. The second concussion - even if it's less force or impact then the initial head injury - can lead to brain swelling and cause long term disabilities. In extreme cases, the second injury, called second impact syndrome, can cause death.

Any player who suffers a concussion can only return to the rink after he receives written permission from his physician and delivers the note to the team's athletic director. The athletic trainer notifies the league as well as the team managers and coaches that the player has recovered from the contact.

Skaters are also required to report any concussions that occur in practices or competitions not sponsored by the AT&T Metroplex HS Hockey League.

"Hockey is a tough physical sport and has been known for athletes toughing out injuries," said Keith Andersen, Senior Director of Hockey Programs for the Dallas Stars/Dr. Pepper Starcenters. "But concussions among young athletes can't be swept under the rug. Teens brains are still developing, and we know know that they don't recover from concussions as fast as the pros."

Texas Health Ben Hogan Sports Medicine, which started its concussion Management Program in 2008, is the region's leader preventing and treating concussions among local athletes.

  • In January 2008, Texas Health Ben Hogan Sports Medicine was the first organization to begin offering neuro-congnitive testing to schools and clubs in the DFW Area for sports concussions.
  • The program currently has 105 schools and sports clubs using ImPACT.
  • The Program had administered more then 23,000 baseline and post-injury tests.
  • 28 Physicians on the medical staff at Texas Health Resource Hospital are credentialed ImPACT consultants.

"Concussions are a serious problem if untreated or misdiagnosed," said Dr. Damond Blueitt, a sports medicine specialist on the medical staff at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Ft. Worth. "We have to remember, these are student athletes. There's no excuse for putting them at risk for serious brain injuries when there are tools out there to improve how we can care for them. We want athletes to have a fun experience in a sport."

To have more info on the ImPACT Concussion System at Texas Health Ben Hogan Sports Medicine Center. You can also call them at 214-345-5010 to get more info.

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