Navigation Links
Parents Speak Out on Catastrophic Youth Sports Injuries
Date:12/30/2011

By Lisa Esposito
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Dec. 29 (HealthDay News) -- On Aug. 22, 2008, sophomore Matt Gfeller, 15, played in his first varsity high school football game at R.J. Reynolds High School in Winston-Salem, N.C.

"We were all there," Lisa Gfeller, his mother, recalled. "There's a sort of privilege in that."

She recalled the hit that caused the concussion: "The other boy was a bit bigger, but Matthew wasn't small. He wasn't carrying the football, neither was the other boy. It was a trap block. One tremendous blow -- helmet to helmet. I know the boy did not mean to hurt him," she added.

"Matt sustained a massive brain injury and never woke up," his mother said. He died two days later, on Aug. 24.

She said it was "chaos" on the field that evening, with a delay getting Matt to the hospital caused in part by the need to call a second, critical care ambulance.

Kevin Guskiewicz is a certified athletic trainer and professor at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. An expert in traumatic brain injury, he and the Gfellers connected not long after Matt's death.

"We don't know if getting Matt to a medical facility 15 or 20 minutes sooner would have saved his life," Guskiewicz said, "but we want to be sure that the next time a case like that occurs, that proper planning is in place to get that child to a medical center in time."

Earlier this month, medical experts and concerned parents appeared on Capitol Hill for a summit on young athletes suffering critical injuries on the playing field. Among them were bereaved parents such as Lisa Gfeller, who have turned personal tragedies into advocacy efforts to prevent others from facing similar losses.

At the summit, hosted by the Youth Sports Safety Alliance, members of the National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) called for better prevention, recognition and treatment of emergencies at sporting events and practices, outlined proper management for specific conditions and warned of the risks of mismanagement.

Catastrophic sports injuries killed 50 young athletes in 2010, according to NATA, and every year sports injuries put 30,000 high school athletes in the hospital. At present, only 42 percent of high schools have access to an athletic trainer.

NATA and parents say certified athletic trainers belong at all high school sporting events, to respond in emergencies both by treating the child and acting as the point person at the scene.

They say every school should have an emergency action plan that covers a variety of medical scenarios like concussion, cardiac arrest, heat stroke, asthma attack and blood sickling (in athletes with sickle cell trait) on exertion.

In June, North Carolina passed the Gfeller-Waller Concussion Law, named after Matt and another young man who died. One requirement is that all public high schools and middle schools have an emergency action plan in place, Guskiewicz said, noting that 31 states now have concussion laws.

In 2010, the Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center opened its doors on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus. Guskiewicz is the co-director.

The Matthew Gfeller Foundation, of which Lisa Gfeller is vice president and treasurer, is involved in many initiatives, including a Wake Forest University event where National Football League players and coaches demonstrated safe blocking and tackling.

At the Washington, D.C. summit, Gfeller met Beth Mallon, co-founder of Advocates for Injured Athletes (AIA), based in San Diego. Her son took a hit during a May 2009 lacrosse game at Santa Fe Christian High School.

"I saw other players were taking a knee, and I realized it was my son, Tommy," Mallon recalled. "He's a really tough kid but it was clear after the first couple of minutes he wasn't getting up."

On an AIA video, Tommy's coach later said it looked like a "mellow hit," and his mother agreed. "It was a freak accident," Mallon said.

Unrealized at the time, Tommy had suffered a tear of the vertebral artery -- a major blood vessel in the back of the neck -- and a clot was forming, which could have led to a stroke. The top disc in his neck was fractured, putting him at risk of death or paralysis if a fragment severed his spinal cord.

"The trainer was on her knees to evaluate him," Mallon said. "Tom wanted to get up -- he hated a delay of game -- and she kept urging him not to move."

Riki Kirchhoff, the certified athletic trainer, picked up a subtle sign of spinal nerve involvement. She, the coach and a physician family friend who happened to be at the game, quickly collaborated.

"The three of them made the decision to call 911," Mallon said. "They made the right decision -- we're extremely lucky."

Tommy had a long, complicated recovery, including clot-busting therapy in intensive care and having his head and shoulders immobilized in a halo apparatus.

Today, "he's good, lucky to be alive and walking," his mother said. Tommy Mallon has since spoken about sports injury at many high schools and he, too, spoke to legislators on Capitol Hill.

"Two things I would tell parents," Gfeller said. "I would not allow my children to play without a certified athletic trainer. And know about the emergency action plan at your child's school. I was really naive. I would have a lot more questions now."

"I know it's very difficult for parents who have lost their children," Mallon said. "That's one reason why we're doing this -- having been given that second chance."

More information

Visit the U.S. National Institutes of Health to learn about sports injuries.

SOURCES: Lisa Gfeller, vice president and treasurer, Matthew Gfeller Foundation, Chapel Hill, N.C.; Beth Mallon, co-founder, Advocates for Injured Athletes, San Diego; Kevin Guskiewicz, Ph.D., certified athletic trainer, Kenan Distinguished Professor and founding director of the Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center and the Center for the Study of Retired Athletes, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Parents May Hold Key to Healthy Weight in Hispanic Kids
2. If Parents Drink and Drive, Their Kids May Too: Study
3. Acceptance is protection: How can parents support gender nonconforming and transgender children?
4. Most Doctors Dont Tell Parents Kids Are Overweight
5. Why do some Mexican parents discourage teens physical activity?
6. Parents views sought on childhood obesity risk
7. Stepchildren May Step Up to Help Elderly Stepparents
8. Conflicting views of a childs behavior problems from parents, teachers, and the child may be helpful to clinician
9. Many Parents Skipping Kids Shots, Putting Other Kids at Risk
10. More Than 1 in 4 U.S. Kids Witness Violence Between Parents: Study
11. Parents, Doctors Often Differ on Chemo for Incurable Kids
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Parents Speak Out on Catastrophic Youth Sports Injuries
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Brent Kasmer, a legally blind and certified personal trainer is helping to develop ... The fitness app plans to fix the two major problems leading the fitness industry today:, ... all type program , They don’t eliminate all the reasons people quit their ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... Experts from the American ... Annual Research Meeting June 26-28, 2016, at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston. ... including advance care planning, healthcare costs and patient and family engagement. , AIR ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... ... Bruton Memorial Library on June 21 due to a possible lice infestation, as reported by ... lice: the parasite’s ability to live away from a human host, and to infest common ... the event that lice have simply gotten out of control. , As lice are a ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... TX (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... the United States, named Dr. Sesan Ogunleye, as the Medical Director of its new ... the facility Medical Director of our new Mesquite location,” said Dr. James M. Muzzarelli, ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... Oklahoma (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... both athletes and non-athletes recover from injury. Recently, he has implemented orthobiologic procedures ... Oklahoma City area —Johnson is one of the first doctors to perform the ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- Research and Markets has announced the ... (Organic Chemical (Sugar, Petrochemical, Glycerin), Inorganic Chemical), Functionality (Filler, ... Global Forecast to 2021" report to their offering. ... pharmaceutical excipients market is projected to reach USD 8.1 ... the forecast period 2016 to 2021. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 Capricor ... ), a biotechnology company focused on the discovery, ... that patient enrollment in its ongoing randomized HOPE-Duchenne ... exceeded 50% of its 24-patient target. Capricor expects ... third quarter of 2016, and to report top ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... RIDGE, Ill. and INDIANAPOLIS ... of students receiving a Lilly Diabetes Tomorrow,s Leaders Scholarship ... The 2016 scholarship winners, announced today online at ... to let type 1 diabetes stand in the way ... Diabetes has supported the Foundation,s scholarship program since 2012, ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: