We wanted to give you an update after speaking the other day with Jim Chesnutt, MD up at OHSU who is in charge of developing the online concussion return to play online certification course as direct by the Oregon Chiropractic Association’s Senate Bill 1547 passed in the 2018 short session. Jim said that he projects that the course will be up and running by July of this year.
However, keep in mind that the law doesn’t go into effect for us DCs until Jan. 1, 2020 meaning that we will not have authority to release an athlete suspected of suffering or who have suffered a concussion back to the stepwise protocol returning that athlete back to sports activity and academics.
This I sincerely believe is very important for the profession. As experts in the realm of common musculoskeletal conditions/injuries that result in back, and spinal pain as well as extremity pain and dysfunction I believe we need to own this territory. Regardless if you are board certified or have an advanced degree in sports injury/sports medicine we need to capture this market share. As you all know very well victims of concussion do not suffer those concussions/head trauma in a vacuum. They many times have concomitant injuries to their cervical, thoracic, lumbar spine and pelvis and be responsible for ongoing complaints that have nothing to do with the concussion that may have resolved e.g. continue cervicogenic headaches.
When we surveyed the chiropractic profession in Oregon we received hundreds of doctors saying they would be interested in taking the course. Conversely, the physical therapists including the doctors of physical therapy returned but a handful of interested therapists. Here is another thing to think about, the typical medical physician isn’t trained in concussion but currently has authority to release an athlete to return to play even though they do not have the training (“well Johnny looks fine to me”). Many of these medical professionals are not comfortable being put in a position where they have little or no training meanwhile the parents of Johnny who has college sports related scholarships looming are breathing down their neck to release Johnny back to play.
So as I see it we have an opportunity, we capture this the OCA let be known that we have hundreds of DCs certified, the MDs and PTs and others can send Johnny to us and we will make the call. Additionally, in a few couple three years, I see no reason why we could not go to the legislature with a student-athlete health and safety bill, requiring all health care providers who wish to have authority to release an athlete must be certified. The average MD is going to have little interest in doing so…pushing more student-athletes toward us and rightly so…..Vern Saboe, DC (OCA Lobbyist)