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Section Information: Announcements
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Combined Section Meetings

2002: Boston, Mass, February 20–24

2003: Tampa, Fla, February 12–16

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Annual Conferences

2002: Cincinnati, Ohio, June 5–8

2003: Washington, DC, June 18–21

2004: San Francisco, Calif, June 18–21

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Clinical Research Grants

Three grant awards for clinical research in the amount of $1000 and two awards in the amount of $5000 are available to Pediatric Section members to assist with research studies of one-year duration that investigate questions of importance to pediatric physical therapy. The purposes of the awards are to provide funding to assist primarily new physical therapist investigators and to encourage research that will add to the body of knowledge related to improvement of pediatric physical therapy. The due date is October 1 for a remaining $5000 and $1000 award. Both awards can be used to support postprofessional thesis or dissertation research.

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Research Development Grant

One research-development award of $1000 is available to Section members and student members to assist in the development of research projects that will be submitted to an institution or public or private agency for funding. The purpose of the award is to fund consultants who will help the Section member develop a competitive grant proposal.

Specific details regarding the required proposal content, format and review procedures for either grant award can be obtained from Cynthia Sliwa, Executive Officer, Section on Pediatrics, American Physical Therapy Association, 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA 22314–1488; Phone: (703) 706–3254; or (800) 999–2782, ext 8588; Fax (703) 706–8575; Email:

Questions concerning proposals may be sent to Sally Westcott, PhD, PT, Research Committee Chair, Section on Pediatrics, 5019 218th Ave NE, Redmond, WA 98053–2429; Phone: (425) 836–3552 (H); (425) 882–8170 (W); Fax (425) 882–8171; Email:

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Section Research Award Deadlines

The deadline for nominations for the Thesis, Dissertation and Research Awards is October 1, 2001. Nominations can be made by any Section on Pediatrics member. For further information on how to make a nomination contact Cindy Sliwa, Executive Officer, Section on Pediatrics, American Physical Therapy Association, 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA 22314–1488; Phone: (703) 706–3254; or (800) 999–2782, ext. 8588; Fax (703) 706–8575; Email:; or Sally Westcott, PhD, PT, Research Committee Chair, Section on Pediatrics, 5019 218th Ave NE, Redmond, WA 98053–2429; Phone: (425) 836–3552 (H); (425) 882–8170 (W); Fax (425) 882–8171; Email:

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The Association of Children’s Prosthetic-Orthotic Clinics has issued a call for abstracts for their 2002 annual meeting, which will be held April 10 through 13, 2002 in Toronto, Canada. Short scientific presentations (five–10 minutes), poster presentations, presentations of “creative solutions” presenting new or innovative prosthetic, orthotic or other therapeutic interventions, challenging cases, workshops, and symposiums are invited.

For more information, contact: Association of Children’s Prosthetic-Orthotic Clinics, 6300 North River Road, Suite 727, Rosemont, IL 60018–4226, or email for the application and instructions. The deadline for receipt of abstracts is October 1, 2001.

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A Boston-based researcher has found that prompt CPR and the use of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) can save the lives of young people who suffer sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) due to blunt trauma to the chest. Known as Commotio Cordis, which can occur in children who are struck by a baseball, softball, lacrosse ball, fist or other object, the condition often claims the lives of its victims within a matter of minutes.

Mark Link, MD, assistant professor of medicine, Tufts University, reported the results in May at the 22nd Annual Scientific Sessions of the North American Society of Pacing and Electrophysiology (NASPE).

“It’s important to realize that sudden cardiac arrest happens to children as well as older persons,” said Link. “Typically, in Commotio Cordis, the SCA occurs during a sporting event, when a child sustains a chest wall blow and collapses. Onlookers often assume the child has simply had the wind knocked out of him or her. But this can be a catastrophic assumption because, in fact, the child may have experienced a potentially fatal event.”

Adults attending such sporting events may not realize that the child’s heart has stopped and that immediate help is needed. Automated external defibrillators are designed to sense that the heart is experiencing ventricular fibrillation, a condition that makes the heart unable to pump blood effectively. If ventricular fibrillation is detected, the AED provides a brief, intense pulse of electricity to the heart, delivered through pads that are applied to the chest, to terminate the episode and save the victim’s life.

Commotio Cordis is increasingly being reported in youth sports. The condition is triggered by impact that occurs within a 15- to 30-msec window during the vulnerable phase of the heart cycle. Young athletes are especially at risk because of the pliability of their chest walls. Despite wearing chest protectors and taking other precautions, children have died from Commotio Cordis while playing baseball, lacrosse, hockey, and softball. More than 125 cases have been documented since the formation of the United States Commotio Cordis Registry three years ago, but the true number of deaths is unknown because of underreporting and misclassification.

Link and his colleagues used a swine model of Commotio Cordis to study the effects of AEDs in recognizing and terminating ventricular fibrillation and to determine the necessity of using cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) after defibrillation to ensure survival. The AED recognized ventricular fibrillation 98% of the time in the study, and all episodes were successfully terminated using an AED. In those animals where ventricular fibrillation was present for more than four minutes, CPR instituted after defibrillation increased the likelihood of survival from 0% to 65%.

“Our study demonstrates that AEDs can recognize and terminate fatal arrhythmias in young athletes and suggests the need for wider availability of AEDs in the community, potentially even in schools and on the playing fields where our young people are participating in sports,” said Link. “Furthermore, it should prompt adults who are engaged in supervising youth athletics to recognize the signs of SCA, learn CPR, and have an AED readily available.”

Victims of SCA generally collapse without warning, do not have a pulse, and are not breathing normally. Adults who witness such accidents involving children should immediately call 911, begin CPR promptly, and locate the nearest AED. AEDs are not approved for use in children who are younger than eight years old.

Recent studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine proved that persons with minimal training could successfully use simple, portable defibrillation devices in public places to save lives that might otherwise be lost to sudden cardiac arrest. The studies said, however, that the defibrillators must be close at hand and easily available. Many initiatives are underway in the U.S. to increase the rapid availability of AEDs where people gather, including pending legislation that will fund the purchase of AEDs by schools.

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The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) has received a four-year, $1.3 million grant from the National Institute of Nursing Research to study how parents encourage responsible independence and self-care in adolescents with chronic illnesses such as diabetes. “The study is the first of its kind to look at the development and self-care of adolescents with insulin-dependent diabetes in relation to family interactions and to follow these families for an extended period of time,” says Carol Dashiff, PhD, professor and chair of nursing graduate studies at UAB.

Two hundred seventy-four adolescents, ages 11 to 15, with type 1 insulin-dependent diabetes will be enrolled in the study. The disease, which affects approximately 1.2 million children in the U.S., requires daily injections of insulin. “If not properly managed, it can lead to serious health problems and can be life-threatening,” Dashiff says. “The demands of daily monitoring are stressful for adolescents and parents.”

The study will include a group of young African Americans with type 1 diabetes. “This is significant because African Americans are often not well represented in studies done in this area,” Dashiff says. “It’s important because what fosters responsible independence and self-care among black adolescents may be different than among white adolescents, so we will be looking at cultural differences and what impact they have on the adolescents’ development.”

During home visits, researchers will evaluate how the adolescents and their parents discuss and resolve typical adolescent-related issues and diabetes management issues. “This will help us identify some characteristics of families that help facilitate responsible independence and self-care,” Dashiff says. “It will provide us with insight into parents’ and adolescents’ perspectives, how they differ and how these differences may affect development of independence and self-care.”

From the study, researchers will develop programs and materials to help parents foster their children’s independence and diabetes control. “Parents of chronically ill children often ask for guidance in making decisions about how much independence to give their adolescents and in what areas,” Dashiff says. “This study will help us develop those guidelines.”

Copyright © 2001 Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy of the American Physical Therapy Association