POSTED ON APRIL 14, 2010:
Concussions are getting a little bit more attention by medical and political officials
Post-concussion syndrome is an illness being discussed more and more throughout the medical community. In recent years, several National Football League players have been diagnosed with these symptoms. The league is finally bringing the subject to the forefront of discussion.
Post-concussion syndrome is preceded by the actual concussion. A concussion occurs from a blow to the head. Imagine your brain rattling around and crashing into your skull.
The severity of the injury has certain groups considering banning the sports we love -- including football. Today's helmet is a step in the right direction. No more cracked craniums or severe cuts. However, we can do better.
"One of the analogies I've heard used is that the brain is like an ice cube in a glass of water," Dr. Bob Mongrain said. "It is floating. A live brain is really soft and very tender. When the head moves too fast, the brain crashes into the side of the skull like an ice cube clinking in a glass of water when you move it around."
Dr. Mongrain practices family dentistry in Broken Arrow. What does a dentist have to do with brain injuries you ask? More than thought previously, according to new research.
College and professional football have outlawed certain tackles in the past few years. One of them is the blow to the jaw using the crown of your helmet. The act of pushing the jaw into the skull can cause a concussion.
Helmets do not protect the jaw line. A tight chin strap might even enhance chances of injury depending on the angle and ferocity of the hit.
So should kids live in a bubble and quit all contact sports? Of course not. Can we do a better job of reducing concussions? Absolutely.
Several dentists around the country, including Dr. Mongrain, are singing the praises of the Brain-Pad. The Brain-Pad replaces the old boil-and-bite mouth guard.
Brain-Pad uses dual-arch technology. "You bite into it and move the jaw down and forward. It cushions the blow," he said. "It reduces (impact) by 40 percent in the helmet head-drop studies. It reduces the amount of force into the skull by 40 percent."
State Bill 1700 shows the heightened level of awareness for traumatic brain injuries. If passed, the bill will mandate a trainer or medical professional medically clear a high school football player's return to the field.
The old days of coaches telling a player that seeing stars is part of the game appears to be over. Allow the brain proper time to heal before banging it again.
The Brain-Pad and Dr. Mongrain are teaming with Coach Bobby Hosea on May 1 for a tackling technique clinic. Proper tackling coupled with the Brain-Pad can ease worries of players, coaches and especially moms across Green Country.
"We are going to be working with Union School district directly," Dr. Mongrain said. "The athletic trainers at Broken Arrow and Union are really on board with this. I think the coaches are just now getting to the point with really being concerned about concussion as an injury and what to do about it."
The clinic takes place May 1 from 9am to 1pm at the Union Multipurpose Activity Center on the Union High School campus, 6636 S. Mingo Road. This is not a children's clinic. This is to educate adults.
Of course, concussions happen in other contact sports as well. Hockey players are starting to utilize the technology as well as combat sports participants.
"When I was in Boston, we fitted Jorge Rivera," Mongrain said. Rivera fights in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, where concussions are part of the sport.
"I've been up to (Dale) Apollo Cook's," he said. "We've offered appliances to some of his pro fighters. We're working on acceptance there."
The Sports Concussion Institute said during a football season it's estimated that 3.8 million brain injuries occur. Can we eliminate concussions? Probably not. Can we reduce the severity or accumulative effect? Why not? Visit brainpad.com for more information.
More Brain Hurt
UFC commentator Joe Rogan once famously declared, "That guy is my hero." He was referring to the fighting legend Randy "The Natural" Couture.
Tulsa fight fans are in for a treat this weekend. Couture is attending Freestyle Cage Fighting 41 at the Expo Square Pavilion.
He will be available for autographs and photo ops during the event. Add him to the long list of MMA royalty visiting Tulsa in the past year.
Couture was a decorated wrestler at Oklahoma State earning the following accolades: three-time Olympic team alternate (1988, 1992 and 1996), a semifinalist at the 2000 Olympic Trials, a three-time NCAA Division-I All-American and a two-time NCAA Division-I runner-up.
His first UFC bout was in 1997. Many up-and-coming fighters aspire to be the next Couture.
His fighting career winds down, but other ventures keep him busy. He runs one of the most successful training facilities (Xtreme Couture) in the world.
Later this summer, you can see him star in The Expendables, alongside Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jet Li, Bruce Willis and Mickey Rourke.
The card is full of exciting fights but none of more interest than the main event. Joey Gorczynski defends his 170-pound FCF title against the current XFL champion Mike Jackson. Jackson recently defeated Tulsa favorite Levi Avera to capture the XFL belt in March.
There might even be a Josh "The Beast" Bryant appearance. Bryant can be seen on The Ultimate Fighter every Wednesday night. He got his start in the FCF.
Visit exposquare.com for ticket information.
Congratulations to the Drillers for their opening night attendance of 8,665. With any luck, the team's play can catch up to the stadium's hype.
Regarding Tim McGraw's first pitch, did anyone else in Tulsa find his presence a bit whacky? Why would Tulsa's ballpark be officially opened by Tim McGraw? The country star was born and raised in Louisiana. If Britney Spears played the BOK Center last Thursday night, would she have toed the rubber?
A better choice would have been Drillers owner Chuck Lamson, Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett, former Tulsa Mayor Kathy Taylor or a housing-challenged Tulsan pulled from an underpass. What more can we do about it, though?
Finally, the Tulsa 66ers won their first-round playoff series against the Sioux Falls Skyforce. The 66ers take on the Des Moines Energy this Friday at the Tulsa Convention Center. Visit tulsa66ers.com for ticket information.
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