Summary: The NFL is looking at the question of not only how to treat serious injuries,but also how to manage and track their long-term effects on players.
Boys will be boys. At least that's what my husband tells me every time he tries to "help" in the kitchen (something inevitably breaks or someone gets hurt). Football is like that, but...intensified. Players, especially professional players, bring everything they have to the game, and the result is that someone is likely to get hurt.
Unlike Husband's kitchen help, where the result might be a small cut or a missing chunk of meat, NFL players can get really hurt. Really, really badly hurt. We're talking everything from broken bones to brain injuries.
Concussions, which are now generally called mild traumatic brain injuries (or MTBI), are relatively common in football. After all, players bash into each other, kind of like two buffaloes battling head-to-head. More serious brain injuries also occur, and the NFL is looking at the question of not only how to treat these injuries, but also their long-term effects on players.
One team, the Buffalo Bills, has decided to step up their game a notch. The Bills are partnering with medical imaging firm Carestream to explore how to manage, treat, prevent, and diagnose these sorts of injuries immediately -- right on the field.
As Seth Voorhees in Rochester's Your News Now reports, Carestream is developing an X-ray imaging machine that will be located at the Bills' home stadium, and another device that's portable and can go on the road with the team.
In a related story, the Boston Globe reports, that the NFL has entered into a multi-million dollar, multi-year contract with eClinicalWorks to provide electronic health records, "X-rays, blood test results, physical exam notes, medications even video clips documenting a game injury in one online server that players and physicians could access from anywhere in the country."
It's good to know that as our favorite teams are out their fighting for the honor of their fans and home cities, medical professionals are standing by to help care for them when they get hurt. It's kind of a shame the sport is so violent, but I guess touch football doesn't make for nearly as compelling TV
However, the implications of this sort of technology for the rest of the population are encouraging. Why? Because sometimes when solutions like this are implemented and tested in specific situations, similar solutions wind up being implemented in the world of the rest of us. Also, the data on MTBIs that will be gathered in this particular high-risk sports arena might help us learn more about how they heal over time and how to treat them in general.