Jan 29, 2015
Bulletin Board

Lacrosse Helmet Removal Guidelines Released

Thanks to the work of the US Lacrosse Sports Science and Safety Committee, the first recommendations for injury-related removal of lacrosse helmet facemasks and chinguards have been released. Until now, athletic trainers have generally applied removal methods from football, but lacrosse helmets are no longer similar enough to football helmets to make shared removal procedures practical.

While the standards focus on mask and chinguard removal, they also mention shifts in equipment standards and the resulting change in treatment recommendations. “Lacrosse helmets have really evolved over the past 10 to 15 years from being a helmet that was loose enough to spin around on your head to one that fits tightly,” says Nancy Burke, ATC, Chair of the committee. “In the very beginning, the standard of care when it came to a head or neck injury in lacrosse was to immediately take the helmet off. But that is no longer an acceptable procedure. The best thing to do is remove the facemask and leave the helmet on during transport.”

The committee met with each lacrosse helmet manufacturer and developed specific instructions for their current helmet models, which also apply to those manufactured in the past two to three years. Different cutting tools are suggested depending on the helmet design, but Burke says there are some general guidelines that apply to all of them.

For removing the screws that secure the facemask to the sides of the helmet, a power screwdriver with a light on it is the best option for all models. Either a flathead or Phillips head will work because lacrosse helmets all contain “combo” screws. Cutting tools, however, are specific to the helmet model–common cutters include the FMXtractor, Trainer’s Angel, and an anvil pruner.

“Our hope is that these guidelines get everyone prepared,” Burke says. “There is nothing worse than having an injury happen on the field and not being able to find the necessary tools in your bag. We recommend that athletic trainers practice these removal procedures and review each helmet’s guidelines, because you never know which kinds of helmets will be worn on your field.”

The full guidelines can be downloaded by clicking on “Helmet Fitting & Facemask Removal” at: www.uslacrosse.org/safety/index.phtml.

Glucose & Fructose Combo May Enhance Endurance

A study published in the February issue of Medicine & Science In Sports & Exercise found that consuming a specific blend of glucose and fructose carbohydrates rather than glucose alone improved athletes’ endurance performance by about eight percent. These findings contradict years of research saying the human body can burn only 60 grams of carbohydrates per hour.

Eight male cyclists, with an average VO2 max of 64.7, ingested a water placebo, a glucose-only solution, or a solution with a 2:1 ratio of glucose to fructose. They then cycled for two hours at 55 percent of maximal aerobic power, followed by a time trial exercise. Expired gases were analyzed throughout and blood samples were taken every 15 minutes. The subjects who ingested the glucose-fructose solution finished the time trial about eight percent faster than the glucose-only group, and about 19 percent faster than the placebo group.

The researchers found that combining the two sugars allowed the body to utilize dual transport mechanisms at the same time, thus maximizing carbohydrate use. When ingesting only one simple carbohydrate at a time, the body’s pathway for it eventually becomes saturated, limiting the amount of the carbohydrate available to the body–this is where previous research came up with the 60 grams-per-hour maximum. With the glucose-fructose mixture, the body was able to burn up to 105 grams of carbohydrates per hour.

The study, conducted at the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences at the University of Birmingham in England with Asker Jeukendrup, PhD, as lead researcher, is being looked at by sports drink and energy bar companies. At least one company has already announced plans to change its energy bar recipe to include the same glucose-fructose ratio as the solution used in the study.

The abstract of the study, “Superior endurance performance with ingestion of multiple transportable carbohydrates,” can by viewed online by visiting: www.ms-se.com and typing “transportable carbohydrates” into the search window.

NCAA Protects Scholarships of Pregnant Athletes

An athletic trainer is often one of the first people to learn of a student-athlete’s pregnancy, which can present a dilemma if the athlete wants to keep it a secret for fear of losing her scholarship. Now, however, athletic trainers at NCAA Division I schools can erase that fear.

The Division I Board of Directors approved legislation at the NCAA convention in January that will prohibit institutions from reducing or canceling aid to student-athletes because of an injury, illness, or medical condition, including pregnancy, during the scholarship term (the academic year). The rule, which takes effect Aug. 1, applies regardless of whether the condition prevents the student-athlete from playing during the year.

“Accountability needs to take place here and now by providing these student-athletes the necessary financial protection,” Rutgers University softball player and National Student-Athlete Advisory Committee member Brittany Loisel told Division I delegates at the convention. “We need to know our institutions are not only committed to us as student-athletes, we need to know our institutions are committed to us as people.”

New Study Analyzes Cardiac Screening

In the past two years, the debate over whether to screen athletes for heart abnormalities has heated up. Now, a team of researchers at Stanford University is conducting a multi-year heart screening study to examine whether screening athletes is worth the cost.

In Italy, a cardiac screening program for the country’s competitive athletes that includes an extensive physical exam and electrocardiogram (EKG) has been credited with decreasing athletes’ rate of sudden cardiac arrest by 90 percent over a 25-year period. Since these results were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2006, advocacy groups have been calling for more screenings in the U.S. But so far, the American Heart Association has declined to make a recommendation, primarily because of the high cost of the screenings.

For the new study, over 800 Stanford student-athletes volunteered to undergo EKGs in September. Although none of them were found to have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (the most common cause of sudden cardiac death in young people), a tennis player with a congenital heart defect was flagged. While she is not barred from playing, she may undergo surgery in the future to prevent premature heart failure. The researchers will add ultrasounds to the screening next year, and their findings will be presented in two to three years.

“Because of all this controversy, people don’t know what to do,” one of the Stanford study’s researchers, Victor Froelicher, MD, Professor of Cardiology and Sports Medicine for the Palo Alto Veterans Affairs Health Care System, told the San Mateo County Times. “We’re feeling we’re the perfect ones to work this out.


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