Ky Kugler, Chapman University – Severity and Frequency of Concussions

Ky Kugler

Ky Kugler

It’s the NFL off-season, but concussions are still very much in our thoughts.

Ky Kugler, a professor of athletic training at Chapman University, profiles the severity and frequency of the common head injury.

Dr. Ky Kugler was appointed as an associate professor and the program director of Chapman University’s athletic training education program (ATEP) in 2001. Dr. Kugler led the ATEP through its initial national accreditation in 2004 and re-accreditation efforts that resulted in the program being awarded continuing accreditation for a 10-year period by the Commission on Athletic Training Education (CAATE) in 2009. Dr. Kugler was appointed as assistant dean of undergraduate education and launched the integrated educational studies (IES) major in 2009 and moved to his current position as associate dean and professor of the CES in June 2010.

Prior to joining Chapman’s faculty, Dr. Kugler taught athletic training education courses at New Mexico State University; California State University, Fullerton and California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. His background as a certified athletic trainer has included experience at the high school level, Olympic international level, professional sports and in NCAA Division I and II athletic programs. His professional experience has also included being a member of two national education committees of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA), a six year term as the treasurer for the Far West Athletic Trainers’ Association. In June 2009, his flair for managing budgets (and people) landed Dr. Kugler in the role of treasurer for the California Athletic Trainers’ Association.

Dr. Kugler grew up in New Mexico and became a certified athletic trainer in 1979. He is married to his wife Jennifer for 23 years and they have two children, Krista 17 and Brent 13.

Severity and Frequency of Concussions

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It is a scenario that can happen any day of the week to any athlete, young or old, and in any sport – a head concussion. National statistics show that an estimated 3.8 million concussions occur each year as a result of sport and physical activity. 58% of all emergency room visits in children ages 8 to 12 years old, and 46% for teenagers are concussion related. Which sport is the leading culprit? Football.

The subject has received tremendous attention at the professional and intercollegiate levels. At these levels, the athletes have an athletic trainer as their health care provider who can recognize and manage head trauma.

However, at the high school level, only 36% of high schools have an athletic trainer nationally. And yet, high school football players suffer three times as many catastrophic injuries as college players – potentially meaning permanent disability injuries, neck fractures, serious head injuries and even deaths according to a 2007 study in the American Journal of Sports medicine. Recent data indicates that concussions in interscholastic athletics were responsible for 8.9% of all athletic injuries.

Furthermore, athletes who have had one concussion are 1.5 times more likely to have a second; those who have sustained two concussions have 3 times greater risk and the risk grows even greater with additional concussions.

The severity and frequency of this type of brain issue is a growing problem. Further neurological research and treatment will hopefully alleviate longer term affects of concussions, but the best bet is to take precautionary measures and avoid these head injuries at all costs.

 

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