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The First Aider

Pro-Lastic Tear Stretch Tape: The tape you’ll tear, stretch, and love!

August 25, 2017

Have you given Pro-Lastic Tear Stretch Tape a try? Pro-Lastic is Cramer’s heavyweight, non-adhesive cotton stretch tape that tears easily by hand. The consistent stretch of this tape ensures easy application and outstanding conformability to any joint or muscle.

Pro-Lastic’s durable backcloth makes it ideal for a variety of uses, including:

  • Strains, sprains and muscle support
  • As a wound dressing
  • Covering gauze
  • Over top of traditional ankle tape (Pro-Lastic’s stretch offers additional support!)
  • To help secure knee braces of any type

The tape is available in 7-½ yard rolls of either 2” or 3” widths, black or white.

Patrick Spieldenner, ATC, head athletic trainer at San Diego State University, says he and his staff use both the 2” and 3” Pro-Lastic tape. “We like it for ankle tape jobs,” he says. “The elastic component gives the tape some rigidity. It stretches and then comes back to its original form. Pro-Lastic with white tape over it is a great combination.”

Patrick says they use Pro-Lastic in various ways with athletes in volleyball, basketball, football, and soccer, and sometimes with track and women’s lacrosse as well. With volleyball, for example, Pro-Lastic is used over white stirrups because it offers support and keeps everything nice and snug. For basketball, Patrick says it’s a Pro-Lastic base with white tape over it.

You’ll love the strength, stretch, versatility and tearability of Pro-Lastic. Now’s the time to give it a try! Read More

Vitamin D deficiency linked to muscle injuries

August 25, 2017

More than half of college football athletes participating in the 2015 NFL Combine had inadequate levels of vitamin D, and this left them more susceptible to muscle injuries, according to a study at New York City’s Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS).

"Vitamin D has been shown to play a role in muscle function and strength," said Scott Rodeo, MD, senior investigator and co-chief emeritus of the Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service at HSS. "While most prior studies have focused on the aging population as the group most likely to experience the harmful effects of inadequate vitamin D, few reports have looked at the impact on muscle injury and function in the high performance athlete."

Dr. Rodeo and colleagues set out to determine if there was a relationship between serum vitamin D levels and lower extremity muscle strains and core muscle injuries, or "sports hernia," in college football players. The study included 214 athletes participating in the 2015 NFL Combine. Baseline data was collected, including age, body mass index (BMI), injury history, and whether they had missed any games due to a lower extremity muscle strain or core muscle injury.

The average age of the athletes was 22. Their vitamin D levels were determined with a blood test. A total of 126 players (59%) were found to have an abnormal serum vitamin D level, including 22 athletes (10%) with a severe deficiency. Researchers found a significantly higher prevalence of lower extremity muscle strain and core muscle injury in those who had low vitamin D levels. Fourteen study participants reported missing at least one game due to a strain injury, and 86% of those players were found to have inadequate vitamin D levels.

"Our primary finding is that the athletes in the study at greatest risk for lower extremity muscle strain or core muscle injury had lower levels of vitamin D. This could be related to physiologic changes that occur to muscle composition in deficient states," Dr. Rodeo explained. "Awareness of the potential for vitamin D inadequacy could lead to early recognition of the problem in certain athletes. This could allow for supplementation to bring levels up to normal and potentially prevent future injury.”

Though our skin produces vitamin D when it is exposed to sunlight, there are estimates that more than 40 percent of the U.S. population is deficient in the vitamin. Sun avoidance and the use of sunscreen may in part account for deficiencies. Milk and vitamin D-fortified foods, including orange juice and some cereals, can also provide vitamin D, but one would need to consume a large amount of these foods. When individuals are found to have a deficiency, vitamin D supplements are usually prescribed.

"Although our study looked at high performance athletes, it's probably a good idea for anyone engaging in athletic activities to give some thought to vitamin D," Dr. Rodeo says. "Indeed, adequate levels of vitamin D are important to maintain good muscle and bone health in people of all ages."

The study was presented at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual Meeting this past March. Read More

New Deep Learning Techniques Analyze Athletes' Decision-making

August 25, 2017

A new automated method of sports analytics, based on deep learning techniques, has been developed by researchers at Disney Research, California Institute of Technology, and STATS, a supplier of sports data. With the new method, detailed game data on player and ball positions is analyzed to create “ghost” models of how a typical player in a league or on another team would behave when an opponent is on the attack. It is then possible to visually compare what a team's players actually did during a defensive play versus what the ghost players would have done.

"With the innovation of data-driven ghosting, we can now, for the first time, quantify, analyze and compare detailed defensive behavior," said Peter Carr, research scientist at Disney Research. "Despite what skeptics might say, you can indeed measure defense."

The researchers presented their method at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston in March. Though they demonstrated the method using data from 100 games of a professional soccer league, they emphasize it also is applicable to other sports, such as football and basketball.

"Precise, second-by-second game data is now widely available, and as technology improves, is becoming even more thorough," said Markus Gross, vice president at Disney Research. "As valuable as they are, metrics such as 'Wins-Above-Replacement' and 'Expected Point Value' are not the be-all and end-all of sports analytics. As this new research shows, we're just beginning to realize the full potential of what the data can tell us."

Carr noted that ghosting has been used by several teams including the NBA's Toronto Raptors. However until now, available software required extensive manual annotation of game data. The Disney-led team, by contrast, developed a fully automated approach using advanced machine learning techniques.

"Our approach avoids the need for manual input," Carr said. "Our ghosting model can be trained in several hours, after which it can ghost every play in real-time. Because it is fully automated, we can easily learn models for different subsets of data, such as all the games of a particular team."

Deep learning uses brain-inspired programs called neural networks. To learn the fine-grained behavior model for each player role in a formation, they used recurrent neural networks, a popular deep learning tool that examines the recent history of player actions to make predictions of subsequent actions. Similar tools were famously used to create artificial intelligence programs that mastered video games and beat top human players of the board game Go. Read More

For games such as soccer, where the game state is continuous in both space and time, standard deep learning techniques were not sufficiently robust. As time progressed, the predictions tended to veer from ground truth. To address this issue, the researchers leveraged techniques from imitation learning, a tool that learns from demonstrations and has proven useful in robotic applications.

Wetgear Elite AT: Waterproof Protection for All of Your Stuff

March 21, 2017

It’s March, so we’re in the midst of National Athletic Training Month for 2017. Your Protection is Our Priority is this year’s National Athletic Training Month slogan. We like this slogan a lot. And just as athletic trainers are dedicated to protecting the athletes they serve, Cramer Products is committed to offering bags and other gear that protect the many supplies athletic trainers use every day. To do your job, your supplies must be ready for use right when you need them, under any circumstances.

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NATA Publishes New Dental and Oral Injuries Position Statement

March 21, 2017

The NATA has published a new position statement on dental and oral injuries. The statement, “Preventing and Managing Sport-Related Dental and Oral Injuries,” appears online in the Journal of Athletic Training, NATA’s scientific publication.

The number of high school and collegiate athletes in competitive sports is currently estimated at 7.2 million. As that number continues to grow, injuries increase as well, including those that are dental and oral-related. Read More

From the Archives: April 2, 1957

March 21, 2017

Mar 21, 2017 11:56:41 PMTake Another Look at Training!

The job of being a trainer is more than the application of tape and the dressing of wounds.

Training includes many separate things – hard work, psychology, the teaching of infinite cleanliness, the development of character, the delicate deflation of ego and encouragement to the timid, an example of loyalty to the department, the promotion of teamwork, the prevention of over enthusiasm and overconfidence, and the raising of morale in adversity.

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Biomarker in Blood May Help Predict Recovery Time for Sports Concussions

March 21, 2017

Researchers at the National Institutes of Health found that the blood protein tau could be an important new clinical biomarker to better identify athletes who need more recovery time before safely returning to play after a sports-related concussion. The study, supported by the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) with additional funding from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, was published online in the January 2017 issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

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Setting the Bar High at Diamond Bar High

March 21, 2017

Mar 21, 2017 11:04:46 PMLike many athletic trainers, Chase Paulson became interested in the profession while being treated for a sports injury as a high school athlete. Chase says he “blew out his knee” playing football at Claremont High School in Southern California. “I worked with the school’s athletic trainer every day for about six months, and was able to return to play the next year,” he explains. “I was already interested in anatomy, and athletic training looked like fun and something I could do.”

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From The Archives: January 1957

January 11, 2017

Jan 12, 2017 12:51:45 AMFrom the January, 1957 issue of The First Aider...

Random Suggestions…

If you should build or remodel,don’t have your equipment room next to the showers.

Keep after your athletes to drink more water in winter – particularly on weekends.

We find some southern coaches storing football shoes in plastic and paper bags. They “Black Magic” the shoes, dust some Foot and Body Powder into them, then put them in the bag for storage.

Nitrotan Spray is a correct treatment for sunburn. Spray burned areas three times, at 30 minute intervals. Read More

High-mileage runners expend less energy than low-mileage runners

January 11, 2017

Jan 12, 2017 12:46:12 AMRunners who consistently log high mileage show more neuromuscular changes that improve running efficiency than their low-mileage counterparts, according to researchers. Find out what the researchers have concluded! Read More