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Youth Athletes

Pascack Hills Student Pushes for New State School Mandate for Cardiac Emergencies

One teenager from Pascack Hills High School provided powerful testimony in Lodi on Tuesday on the importance of a new state mandate that requires high school staff and students be equipped and trained in life-saving techniques in the event of cardiac emergencies.

“I know that I’m standing here today because of an AED machine and individuals who were properly trained,” Anthony Cortazzo said of the automated external defibrillator.

Cortazzo, now a senior at the high school in Montvale, was at track practice in March when he collapsed and went into sudden cardiac arrest. Others on the field began to administer cardio-pulmonary resuscitation and Steve Papa, athletic trainer at the school, rushed to the field with an AED.

By the time an ambulance arrived, Cortazzo had a pulse and was breathing. Papa credits the “chain of survival” established at the school with the happy outcome.

Cortazzo suffered from a previously undetected congenital heart defect and soon underwent open heart surgery. He has been gaining strength since and plans to return to the football field in the next couple of weeks.

His story and others like it are rare but not uncommon, experts say, and have prompted the new legislation, which went into effect in September.

Every K-12 school in New Jersey is required to have at least one AED and staff trained in how to use it and perform CPR. A second law also requires high school students to be trained in CPR and AED use.

Ranney School (Tinton Falls, NJ) Awarded NATA Safe Sports School 1st Team Award

Ranney School’s athletic program is starting the school-year on an impressive note, being named the fourth school in New Jersey to receive the Safe Sports School Award from the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA). The award is given to schools that have outlined specific actions that will lead an already existing athletic program to the highest safety standard for its players.

Ranney School earned a 1st Team Award, which is given to schools that act on all of the recommended and required elements for safety standards (2nd Team Awards are granted to schools that have completed only the required elements; see more details below). “The health and well-being of our students is our priority in the Athletic Department,” says Ranney’s Athletic Trainer Neila Buday, LAT. “This award provides great affirmation for our school. We have the people, policies and protocols in place to provide the safest environment for our student–athletes.” Ranney received a banner of recognition for its 1st Team Award, which will soon be on display on campus.

Oratory Prep School (Summit, NJ) Awarded NATA Safe Sports School 1st Team Award

Oratory Prep is the recipient of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Safe Sports School award for its sports medicine program. The award champions safety and recognizes secondary schools that provide safe environments for student athletes. The award reinforces the importance of providing the best level of care, injury prevention and treatment.
 
“Oratory Prep is honored to receive this 1st Team recognition from NATA, and we remain committed to keeping our student athletes safe during physical education classes, team practices and games so they can accomplish their own goals of great competition, winning records, fair sportsmanship and good health. Our goal is to lead our athletics program to the highest safety standards for our players,” said Mr. Bob Costello, Head of School at Oratory.
 
Physical activity is very important for our youth, according to NATA president Jim Thornton, MS, ATC, CES. “There has been an increase in competitive sports, which are, unfortunately, not without risk. Brain injury/concussion, cardiac arrest, heat illness, exertional sickling, cervical spine fractures and other injuries and illnesses are potentially life-threatening.” Proper planning with proper equipment and personnel is vital to the safety of student athletes today, he notes.
 
"Receiving this award is truly an honor." Said Oratory Prep Head Athletic Trainer Allan Parsells. "The Athletics Department as a whole works so diligently to keep our student-athletes safe and this award recognizes that fact."
 

ASNJ Hall of Fame Member Dave Csillan Quoted in the article "NFL, College and High School Football Training Camps Combat Heat"

As football teams practice diligently for the long season ahead, they must first plan ways to beat the heat of August.
 
Training camp for the National Football League is in full swing as all 32 teams have begun practice sessions. Starting this month, collegiate and high school athletes will each begin practicing for their upcoming seasons.
 
While this summer has featured cooler weather in much of the country, as well as extreme heat in the Northwest, those conditions are likely to change in August. In the Southwest, no significant change is forecast.
 
"A shift in the jet stream is forecast during the middle of August that will lead to longer-lasting warm weather over much of the eastern two-thirds of the nation and less extreme heat over the Northwest," AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski reported.
 
Heat stroke is a major issue for athletes, particularly in high school athletics where one third of schools do not have an athletic trainer on staff, Douglas Casa, chief operating officer at the Korey Stringer Institute at the University of Connecticut, previously told AccuWeather.com.
 
Korey Stringer was a Pro Bowl offensive lineman for the Minnesota Vikings, who passed away in training camp in 2001, after suffering exertional heat stroke.
 

NCAA Settles Head Injury Lawsuit

The NCAA agreed Tuesday to settle a class-action head-injury lawsuit by creating a $70 million fund to diagnose thousands of current and former college athletes to determine if they suffered brain trauma playing football, hockey, soccer and other contact sports.
 
College sports' governing body also agreed to implement a single return-to-play policy spelling out how all teams must treat players who received head blows, according to a Tuesday filing in U.S. District Court in Chicago. Critics have accused the NCAA of giving too much discretion to hundreds of individual schools about when athletes can go back into games, putting them at risk.
 
Unlike a proposed settlement in a similar lawsuit against the NFL, this deal stops short of setting aside money to pay players who suffered brain trauma. Instead, athletes can sue individually for damages and the NCAA-funded tests to gauge the extent of neurological injuries could establish grounds for doing that.
 
The filing serves as notice to the federal judge overseeing the class-action case that the parties struck a deal after nearly a year of negotiations. In addition to football, ice hockey and soccer, the settlement also applies to all men and women who participated in basketball, wrestling, field hockey and lacrosse.
 
Joseph Siprut, the lead plaintiffs' attorney who spearheaded talks with the NCAA, said the sometimes-tough negotiations ended with a deal that will make college athletics safer.
 

Two ATSNJ Student Members Honored at NATA Annual Convention

Two student members of the Athletic Trainers’ Society of New Jersey were selected to receive scholarships at the Pinky Newell Scholarship and Student Leadership Breakfast during the National Athletic Trainers’ Association’s 65th Clinical Symposia & AT Expo in Indianapolis.  The breakfast was held the morning of Saturday, June 28th in the JW Marriot. NATA and ATSNJ Hall of Fame member, Charlie Thompson, provided the Keynote Address.
 

Selecting a Concussion Educator: Robb Rehberg Thinks Athletic Trainers Best Suited For The Role

With youth sports concussion safety laws in place in all 50 states, increased public awareness about concussions, and growing concern about the long-term effect of repetitive head impacts, the demand for concussion education, not just for parents, coaches, and athletes, but for health care professionals, such as primary care physcians and emergency room doctors, as well is at an all-time high, and promises to go even higher in the coming years.
 
But who should sports programs - whether school-based or independently run - hire to educate athletes, coaches, and parents about concussions? What kind of training, education and experience should they have?
 
We decided to ask a number of leading concussion educators.  First up is Robb Rehberg, Professor and Coordinator of Athletic Training Clinical Education at William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey.
 
MomsTEAM: Tell us a little bit about your training and education that prepared you to be a concussion educator?
 
Rehberg: My first lessons in dealing with concussion came during my days playing footbal in high school. Since that time, concussions have always been an area of interest for me. I'm an athletic trainer by trade, and my undergraduate degree is in athletic training. I also earned a PhD in Health Science Education and Research, which has helped me not only understand the research, but be able to present it to various groups in a way that is easily understood.
 

President Obama Announces NATA/NFL Collaboration

The NATA, in collaboration with the Professional Football Athletic Trainers’ Society, will support a national initiative to place athletic trainers in underserved high schools in NFL markets during the 2014 football season. The National Football League Foundation and NFL teams will provide $1 million, with NATA adding another $125,000, to improve the health and welfare of those student athletes. President Barack Obama announced this initiative during the White House Healthy Kids and Concussion Summit in Washington, DC, this morning.

 
“I’m proud to announce a number of new partnerships and commitments from the people in this room that are going to help us move the ball forward on this issue,” Obama said. “… The NFL is committing $25 million of new funding over the next three years to test strategies like creating health and safety forums for parents, and they’re building on the program piloted by my own Chicago Bears to get more [athletic] trainers at high school games.”
 
The White House released a fact sheet about the event that further detailed our collaboration with the NFL:

ACL Knee Injuries - An Ounce of Prevention is Priceless

Nearly a quarter of a million anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries occur each year in North America in athletes who participate in high demand sports such as soccer, football, and basketball.
 
A major injury prevention position statement released today by the Canadian Academy of Sport & Exercise Medicine (CASEM) and published in the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine (CJSM) (www.cjsportmed.com) concludes that youth soccer players and their coaches can significantly decrease the incidence of ACL injuries by incorporating neuromuscular training (NMT) into their warm-up routines. NMT involves doing specific agility and strength training activities.  NMT should be incorporated into routine practices and warm ups and should begin, at the very latest, in the early teenage years. "These warm up exercises, carried out correctly, will keep the athletes on the field instead of in our offices", states Dr. Cathy Campbell, co-author of the new position statement and team doctor for the Canadian women's soccer team.
 

Study Calls for More Access to On-site Athletic Trainers to Properly Assess Injuries

Basketball is a popular high school sport in the United States with 1 million participants annually. A recently published study by researchers in the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital is the first to compare and describe the occurrence and distribution patterns of basketball-related injuries treated in emergency departments and the high school athletic training setting among adolescents and teens.
 
The study, published online in the Journal of Athletic Training, examined data relating to adolescents 13-19 years of age who were treated in U.S. emergency departments (EDs) from 2005 through 2010 and those treated in the high school athletic training setting during the 2005-2006 through the 2010-2011 academic years for an injury associated with basketball. Nationally, 1,514,957 patients with basketball-related injuries were treated in EDs and 1,064,551 were treated in the athletic training setting.
 
The study found that in general, injuries that are more easily diagnosed and treated, such as sprains/strains, were more likely to be treated onsite by an athletic trainer while more serious injuries, such as fractures, that require more extensive diagnostic and treatment procedures were more commonly treated in an ED.
 

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