Play Smart Play Safe
Description: Play Smart Play Safe is an NFL league-wide health and safety initiative launched by Commissioner Roger Goodell in 2016. This initiative was designed to progress the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of sports-related injuries in the NFL, with a focus on concussion. This web site provides information on multiple concussion-related topics, including advancements in technology, medical research, and the NFL Head, Neck, and Spine Committee’s concussion protocol. This committee is composed of independent and NFL-affiliated medical professionals whose role is advising the NFL on medical policies and protocols, overseeing research, analyzing injury data, and improving public education and advocacy for enhanced sports safety. Members of this board include neurosurgeons, athletic trainers, psychologists, traumatic brain injury specialists, and neurologists. This site also reviews the improvements made to the concussion protocol for the 2018 season and discusses the five-step return to participation protocol, as used in the NFL. The web site is easily accessible and free of charge. There are multiple resources available including links to resources for parents and coaches. These resources include the CDC’s statement on Concussion in Sports, The American Academy of Pediatrics’ statement on tackling in youth football, and the National Federation of State High School Association’s free concussion course. This web site is updated regularly, with the most recent update having been published on June 22, 2018.
The ACL Club
Description: The ACL club is an online community of athletes who have torn their ACLs. This web site provides an online space where athletes can discuss both the physical and emotional journey of tearing an ACL and recovering from severe injury. The web site is easily navigated and updated regularly. It hosts a free podcast with interviews with professional athletes who have sustained an ACL injury as well as medical professionals who treat ACL injuries. There also is a #scarstories blog and mailing list where patients can read about athletes with similar experiences. With a paid membership, members are given access to instructional videos to help direct both their physical and emotional rehabilitation. Membership also includes exercise programs to help reduce the risk of another ACL injury as well as exercise plans to follow once physical therapy sessions are completed. Members are introduced to an interactive online community where patients can directly share their experiences. There is even merchandise available for members to wear to “show their scars.” Providers can refer athletes to this web site to help the athletes better cope with the diagnosis of ACL injury.
Cost: Free (paid membership $60.00)
Paralympic Games Classification
Description: This web site explains the three-step classification process for Paralympic athletes. To maintain fair competition, paralympic athletes are classified by level of impairment. When parasport competition was initially founded, athletes were classified by similar rehabilitation diagnoses with separate classes for spinal cord injuries, amputations, and other neurologic or orthopedic conditions. As the paralympic movement grew, classification changed from a basis in medical conditions to a more functional classification system. Classification is now sport-specific, with the main determinant of classification being the impact of that athlete’s impairment on the sport-specific performance. Classification allows for athletes to compete against others with similar impairments and also provides a system for teams to be equally matched during competition. It also prevents the athlete with the least severe impairment from being the one that wins most easily. The classification system is regulated by the International Paralympic Committee’s Classification Committee, which reviews its policies at its annual meeting. The most recent athlete classification code was made in 2015, with recent revisions going into effect in January 2017. The classification portion of the Paralympic Games web site is easy to use and is divided into subsections which include the history of para-Olympic classification, sport specific rules, and athlete classifier training.
I Am Adaptive
Description: I Am Adaptive is a nonprofit organization found to educate, socialize, and mobilize adaptive and veteran communities through sport. Adaptive support includes but is not limited to athletes with amputation, spinal cord injury, muscular dystrophy, scoliosis, traumatic brain injuries, blindness, deafness, and cerebral palsy. The web site provides resources for adaptive athletes and instructors, including guidelines to help modify activities for those with impairments. The web site also provides information for those with impairments who would like to become more physically active. There also are links to financial resources including grants for adaptive sports equipment, adaptive sports programs, and research.
Biomechanics of Foot Strikes and Applications to Running Barefoot or in Minimal Footwear
Description: This web site provides evidence-based resources for providers who are interested in the biomechanics of foot strike patterns in running as well as how these change with barefoot or minimal footwear. Created by Dr. Daniel Lieberman in the Skeletal Biology Lab at Harvard University, this web site is a comprehensive summary of their investigations of the biomechanics of endurance running of a barefoot runner as compared with those with varying types of footwear. The web site is based on research published in the scientific journal, Nature, in 2010. This web site provides information on human evolution and endurance running, foot and lower-limb biomechanics when running in traditional running shoes, minimal shoes, and barefoot. This web site also discusses the biomechanical differences between forefoot and heel striking, and transitioning safely to forefoot striking in barefoot or minimal footwear.