District enters into research study on concussion treatment

3/1/2018 - West Side Leader

By: Casaundra Smith


At its regular meeting Feb. 20, the Woodridge Local Schools Board of Education approved a research participation agreement between the high school and Akron Children’s Hospital concerning the treatment of concussions.

District Athletic Trainer Mike Johnson addressed school board members about the clinical study, which involves the possibility of a new treatment option for student athletes who suffer a concussion. He described the treatment as a device that will apply cold treatment to the head and neck area within two hours of being injured. 

“We’re working with almost all of the schools that Akron Children’s has contracts with — Woodridge being one of them — and we’re going to be using the students there as our test subjects,” he said.

According to Johnson, schools will be randomly split into two groups — one group will receive the device, while the other will not. He also pointed out that the study will rotate by season, meaning during spring sports season a school may have the device, but during fall sports season it may not. The study will compare and contrast the two groups to see how concussed athletes who receive the treatment recover with those who did not, he said.

“It would be great to give everybody the treatment, but then we have no idea if it works or not,” he said.

Johnson told board members that the district’s decision to enter into the agreement does not automatically enroll student athletes in the study. Parents and students will make the decision to enroll.

“Your approval of this study basically just gives us the opportunity to go ask them, so it’s completely voluntary,” he said.

Johnson added students enrolled in the study can back out at any time. As the athletic trainer, it would be his decision to administer the treatment on injured students, he said.

Johnson said if the study proves the device is helpful, the hope is for it to eventually become a standard of care.

“If we can prove that if you apply this thing it’s going to cut your concussion recovery in half or in a quarter or whatever, hopefully someday schools will have the opportunity to buy this tool and keep it on-site and use as they see fit,” he said...

Fire Drill or Rehab?


From St. Rita’s Medical Center


 February 28, 2018

With the celebration of 100 years of changing lives at St. Rita’s Medical Center, we have taken some time to recall a few of those memories. Tom Lane, an athletic trainer at St. Rita’s, shared, “I was with a patient who was a firefighter and fell through a two-story roof onto his head, knocking himself out. He was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury, was treated for quite some time at St. Rita’s and was then released. After he was finished with outpatient therapy, he wanted to go back to firefighting, so he began working with the athletic trainers in sports medicine. Once his strength and endurance increased and became more functional, we had to make the program more challenging for him.”

To challenge the patient, the trainers had him wear his firefighting gear in the gym during rehab. Then, the trainers created an oxygen tank filled with sand to simulate the air he would be carrying during an emergency with his equipment during a fire. Throughout the program designed for him, the patient would walk up and down the stairs of the hospital with full gear on and after that he would go outside to cool down. This was challenging, yet functional for him as a firefighter. The patient did the program for over a month.

“One day I was with him and a staff member from one of the physician offices in the 830 Building came in the side-entrance door during therapy. I said hello and she went upstairs. About 10 minutes later, ironically, the fire alarm goes off and the whole 830 Building goes outside,” says Lane. The fire trucks roll in and the patient and Tom go outside. “Dr. [Gary] Schniegenberg jokingly says to me, ‘Tom, you must be responsible for this fire drill.’” As it turns out, the staff member who came in during the rehabilitation session saw the patient in his firefighting gear and mistook his presence as a sign of a fire in the building and asked why there was a firefighter but no fire engines around. Members of St. Rita’s called 911, assuming there was a fire in the building.

“In the end our patient got better, his neurosurgeon cleared him to go back to work, a great success story of his recovery was told, and a funny story was made during his recovery. Sometimes I go out that entrance when I travel to my high school. I just shake my head and smile about this incident. Dr. Schniegenberg, on the other hand, never let me live it down.”

This is part of a monthly series of stories submitted by St. Rita’s Medical Center marking the 100th anniversary of the hospital.