Recognizing Traumatic Brain Injuries #TBIs & #mTBIs

A common misbelief is that Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs), even mild TBIs (mTBIs) are easily recognizable, and that the individual knows that they have one. There is also misconception that concussions, and other mTBIs involve loss of consciousness, severe headaches, and memory loss. Though those are three symptoms, they are not the only ones, and not everyone that has a concussion or mTBI has all or sometimes any of those symptoms. Another false belief is that symptoms occur immediately after head trauma, though some do, but it can sometimes take hours, days, or even weeks for symptoms to show. There can be a long enough period of time between head trauma and onset of symptoms that the individual, and even doctors, sometimes don’t link the two together. One other mistake that is made is thinking just because the individual didn’t get hit in the head, therefore no TBI/mTBI occurred. This is also wrong. Just like in shaken baby syndrome, the head can be violently shaken, or a sudden deceleration, can cause the brain to sort of slosh in the skull and impact against the inside of the skull causing injury. This is common with automobile injuries and whiplash.

Just like with most injuries, brain injuries can range from mild to severe.  TBIs result in permanent neurobiological damage which may produce lifelong problems or changes for the individual.

Moderate to severe TBIs usually refer to injuries that are defined as:

  • Moderate TBI is a brain injury that results in a loss of consciousness from 20 minutes to 6 hours and a Glasgow Coma Scale of 9 to 12
  • Severe TBI is a brain injury resulting in a loss of consciousness of greater than 6 hours and a Glasgow Coma Scale of 3 to 8

How much impact a moderate to severe TBI has depends on a number of things: Severity of initial injury, speed and degree of physiological recovery, functions affected, meaning of dysfunction to the individual, help and resources available to aid recovery, areas of function not affected by the TBI.

Moderate to severe TBI affects and symptoms can include: cognitive, language and speech, sensory, perception, vision, hearing, smell, taste, physical changes, social/emotional changes, and seizures.

Cognitive deficits can include difficulties with: attention, concentration, distractibility, memory, speed of processing, confusion, perseveration, impulsiveness, language processing, and executive functions.

Language and speech symptoms include: receptive aphasia (not understanding the spoken word), expressive aphasia (difficulty speaking and being understood), slurred speech, speaking very fast or very slow, problems reading, and problems writing.

Sensory symptoms include: difficulties with interpretation of touch, temperature, movement, limb position and fine discrimination.

Perception symptoms include: the integration or patterning of sensory impressions into psychologically meaningful data.

Vision symptoms include: partial or total loss of vision, diplopia (weakness of eye muscles and double vision), blurred vision, depth perception problems, judging distance, nystagmus (involuntary eye movements), and photophobia (intolerance of light).

Hearing symptoms include: decrease or loss of hearing, tinnitus, (ringing in the ears), and increased sensitivity to sounds.

Smell symptoms include: anosmia (loss or diminished sense of smell).

Taste symptoms include: a loss or diminished sense of taste.

Physical Changes may include: physical paralysis/spasticity, chronic pain, control of bowel and bladder issues, sleep disorders, loss of stamina, appetite changes, difficulties with regulation of body temperature, and menstrual difficulties.

Social-Emotional may include: dependent behaviors, changes in emotional ability, lack of motivation, irritability, aggression, depression, disinhibition, denial or lack of awareness of problem(s).

Seizures: convulsions associated with epilepsy may be of several types and can involve disruption in  consciousness, sensory perception, or motor movements.

TBIs can be classified as mild if loss of consciousness and/or confusion and disorientation is less than 30 minutes. While MRI and CAT scans are often normal, the individual has cognitive problems such as headache, difficulty thinking, memory problems, attention deficits, mood swings and frustration. These injuries are commonly overlooked.  Even though this type of TBI is called mild, the effect on the family and the injured person can be devastating and long lasting. (Other names for mTBI: concussion, minor head trauma, minor TBI, minor brain injury, and minor head injury)

mTBIs are the most prevalent TBIs and are often missed at time of initial injury. Approximately 15% of people with mild TBI have symptoms that last one year or more. They are defined as the result of the forceful motion of the head or impact causing a brief change in mental status (confusion, disorientation or loss of memory) or loss of consciousness for less than 30 minutes. Post injury symptoms are often referred to as post concussive syndrome, and symptoms can show up 7-10 days after the injury and last weeks, months, or even years.

Common symptoms of mTBI can include: fatigue, headaches, visual disturbances, memory loss, poor attention/concentration, sleep disturbances, dizziness/loss of balance, irritability-emotional disturbances, feelings of depression, and seizures. Additional symptoms can include: nausea, loss of smell, sensitivity to light and sounds, mood changes, getting lost or confused, and slowness in thinking

With all TBIs, including mTBIs, symptoms may not be present or noticed at the time of injury.  It may be hours, days, or weeks before they appear and by the time they do, sometimes the head trauma is forgotten about and the cause of the symptoms is difficult to determine. Symptoms are often subtle and are often missed by the injured person, family and doctors. The person looks and often moves normal in spite of not feeling or thinking normal.  This makes the diagnosis easy to miss, and family and friends often notice changes in behavior before the injured person realizes they have a problem. Frustration at work or when performing daily tasks may finally bring the person to seek medical care.

***This summer, beginning July 9, 2017, I will be riding my bike (with a friend), unsupported, and self funded from the west to the east coast to raise awareness and money for #TBI. Please follow along as I train and prepare for the ride, and as we make our way steadily eastward during the ride. We will be pulling trailers behind or bikes with camping gear, food, water, clothes, etc. I will post regular updates on this blog, as well as on social media, in addition to more info on TBIs. All donations (donation website is active) greatly appreciated and go to charity (Brain Injury Association).

Donation WebsiteFacebook PageTwitter Feed, and Instagram Page

My training (and daily ride) can also be found on the following:

Strava, DailyMile, MapMyRide, and MapMyRun

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Riding for Awareness of Traumatic Brain Injury

Since I have decided to dedicate this summer’s coast-to-coast bike ride to raising awareness and money for traumatic brain injury (TBI), it is only fitting that I start writing about it as well. So for the next couple of months leading up to the ride (which we plan to start on July 9th), and during the ride itself, not only will I be writing about my training, preparations, and the ride itself, I will be writing about TBIs as well.

I have never suffered a TBI myself, despite the numerous times I have hit my head on things or been hit in the head (not all blows to the head cause a TBI), but I work with them on a regular basis. I am an athletic trainer, which is in the field of sports medicine, and I have been working with athletes for over 20 years. I currently evaluate over 50 head injuries a year, with a good number of them being concussions. Most of them have recovered quickly and simply, but I have had a couple that did not, and the individuals suffered the effects for quite some time. I have also known several people that have had more severe TBIs that were life altering, and from which they will never fully recover. TBI is a part of my life and something that concerns me.

Concussions are often referred to as mild TBIs (mTBI) though some of them can take months, years, or may never fully resolve. A common misconception is that concussions only happen in football, soccer, hockey, or that they only happen in sports. I have seen concussions in pretty much every sport. While football, soccer, and hockey may lead the way, I have seen them in tennis, squash, fencing, track, cross country and pretty much every sport I have worked with. The fact of the matter is they, like all TBIs, can happen to anyone anywhere. Car accidents, slips and falls, falling objects, and more can happen at any time. I actually know of someone that got a concussion while lying in bed at home. A window mounted AC unit came loose and landed on their head while they were sleeping.

Another misconception about concussions and TBI is that the person knows that they have them, or that you can look at someone and know whether they have one. The facts are though that often the individual may go days, weeks, or even months before they realize they have a problem and not even a neurologist can simply look at someone and determine whether they have a TBI. The list of concussion symptoms is quite long, and just because someone was not knocked unconscious or never had a head ache does not mean that they did not, or are not, suffering a TBI. This is a hidden injury, and victims often suffer alone because others do not see anything wrong with them. Their continually knocking things over or tripping over nothing is not their being clumsy, it is a result of their TBI. The slurred speech, stutter, or tripping over words that you are mocking them for is not their fault. Their forgetfulness is not them. Their continual fatigue is not their being lazy. They have a serious injury with which they are struggling.

My ride this summer is to help raise awareness about TBIs, and to raise money which will help those that suffer from them. Please follow along as I prepare for and as I ride from the west to the east coast. I will post of my adventures as well as more information about TBIs and helpful links. Please consider donating to my ride (All money raised goes directly to charity. I am self-funding my ride).

https://www.crowdrise.com/transam-ride-4-tbi

https://www.facebook.com/TransAmRide4TBI/

https://www.instagram.com/transamride4tbi/

https://twitter.com/TransAmRide4TBI

https://bianys.org

https://ironmanlongrunr.wordpress.com/transam-ride-4-tbi/ 

#TBI #mTBI #TraumaticBrainInjury #BrainInjuryAwareness #BrainInjury #NotAlone
#NotAloneInBrainInjury #Concussion #TransAmRide4TBI

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Getting ready for this summer’s coast to coast ride for #TBI

With the sigimg_0009ns of spring already upon us (pic is crocus from our yard) it is high time for me to start my ride prep. I had originally planned to start sooner, but ride partner was having difficulty with getting the time off for it. That didn’t stop me from buying a set of rollers to try and get some time on the bike over the winter. Unfortunately, I never got around until recently to putting those rollers to use. I blamed it on not knowing for sure that the trip was going to happen, but truth of the matter is that I was a little intimidated by them. Go on youtube and search for “bike roller fails” and you’ll quickly understand. I do have a bike trainer that I could be using, but it just gets too monotonous for me and I can never force myself beyond 40-45 minutes. I was hoping that the rollers would be more interesting, and turns out they are…

My first attempt to ride on them didn’t go well. I set the rollers up by a post in the basement and held onto it until I thought I was starting to get a feel for it. I let go once I felt stable, but only last a few seconds before crashing. Yes, crashing. I went down hard, with my left wrist taking the brunt of it. Fortunately I was smart enough to wear my helmet (don’t want a #TBI) because I did hit my head as well. (Did you know that every time you crash on a bike and hit your head/helmet you need to replace it? It absorbs force of impact by breaking, and even if you don’t see the cracks, safety is compromised if you continue to use it. So please, buy new after a crash. Some helmets you can get a discount/prorated when doing this.) My wrist, and pride, was hurt enough, that I called it quits for that attempt.

A couple of days later I tried again. I watched a few videos online and realized my biggest mistake was looking down at the front wheel instead of 10ft ahead. I also put the rollers in a more enclosed area where I had support on both sides of me, just in case. Fortunately, it wasn’t needed as I was successful in my attempt. Focusing ahead of the bike instead of the front wheel did the trick. Focusing on front wheel leads to over correcting when first starting out. By focusing ahead of me, my corrections were more gentle and I was riding with confidence very quickly.

I know riding on the rollers won’t properly prepare me for this summer’s ride, but I don’t have enough time during the school year to get many miles in out on the road, and this at least gets me used to being on the bike and still gives me a good workout. One step closer to the ride, and I’m getting excited.

**To donate to the ride (I’m fully funding ride, all money goes to #TBI): https://www.crowdrise.com/transam-ride-4-tbi **(see below)

To follow me on social media: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

**When making donations you have the option to pay the transaction fee and have all of your donation go to #TBI BIAofNYS, or have it taken out of your donation. They charge 10% if you pay transaction, but only take 5% of donation if you don’t pay it. I recommend if you want to pay transaction, so “all money” goes to to #TBI, that you just include an extra 5% in your donation (multiply amount you want to donate by 1.05) instead of selecting option to pay it yourself. That way the you pay less for the transaction, AND you can claim it in your taxes. So for $20 donation, multiply by 1.05 gives you a donation of $21 ($20 to TBI, $1 for fee) and you can claim it all on taxes.

Special thanks to Nikki Stang for helping promote my on her blog, “My Traumatic Brain Injury

#TransAmRide4TBI
#TBI
#TraumaticBrainInjury

Posted in #TransAmRide4TBI, Brain Injury Awareness, Brain Injury Awareness of New York State, Concussion, Not Alone In Brain Injury, TBI, TransAmRide4TBi, Traumatic Brain Injury | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

30+ Hours of Love Up In Smoke… Part II

20141216_201345_resizedAlarm went off on time, but no, getting up wasn’t going to happen. Too many beers the night before and up too late with Jessica and her brother, so I reset and tried again. I finally dragged my weary carcass from bed around 5:45am and got straight to work.

First the turkey was pulled from the truck, and removed from the brine. I rinsed both the turkey and the brine bucket, and the put the turkey back in the bucket with some fresh water. This was recommended to tame the salt some. While the turkey was soaking in fresh water I started to get the smoker ready. Unfortunately I was bit lazy last time I used the smoker and had a lot more work to do than I had expected. I had to empty all the ashes, clean the water pan, and clean the grill. Once the smoker was ready for use, I filled my charcoal chimney and started the first coals.IMG_2792 I then went to fill my water pan with water, and this was when I encountered my second problem of the morning. I forgot the pan had a hole in it. I solved the problem last time by lining it with aluminum foil, unfortunately that foil was no longer usable, and we were out of it (or so I thought).

At this point I decided I needed a little help, and nuked up some leftover coffee from the morning before. This alone wasn’t going to cut it, so I added in some Irish cream liquor (Molly’s). This did the trick, and I was able to focus on the problem with the water pan.

I ended up sticking an old camping cook pot in it, and filling that up with water. I couldn’t just use the cook pot because it was too narrow to rest in the sprockets to hang it, but it worked fine sitting in the old pan. Actually, it worked better because it held more water and meant I wouldn’t have to add any while smoking. This was great because refilling it loses a lot of heat and adds time to the cooking process. I also chopped a couple apples that were rather bruised and getting old and threw them into it. The apples wouldn’t taste good to eat, but they would add some flavor to the steam rising from the pot.

Next step was to prepare and apply the wet rub to the turkey. Once again, no recipe, just threw it together. I poured about a ½ cup of olive oil into a bowl, added about a handful of celery salt, ground pepper, thyme, basil, oregano, and garlic powder. Everything was mixed thoroughly and let sit for about 10 minutes. While it was sitting, I pulled the turkey out of the water and dried it off. I then slathered the wet rub all over the turkey and put it to the side.

20141216_100105_resizedFirst cup of coffee was wearing thin and I started a fresh press pot. By the time it was ready, and I added some more Molly’s, the charcoal was ready. So I put the coals into the smoker, added some additional charcoal and a couple pieces of the mesquite wood I had been soaking. Water pan was put into place with the camping pot, and then the grill was put in. I put the lid on the smoker so everything could start heating up, and went inside and put meat thermometer probe in the turkey. The previous year, after struggling to smoke my first turkey, I decided to buy a wireless digital thermometer. This was a great buy, it allowed me to spend time with our guests, help prep the rest of the food, etc, while still monitoring the turkey and smoker temperatures. Once the thermometer was in the turkey, it was time to put it in the smoker and install the other probe in the smoker.20141216_095908_resized

7:30am and the turkey was finally on the smoker. I was a bit concerned that i may have gotten it started a bit late to make our goal dinner time of 4pm. Not much I could do about that at this point so I decided to take a short break and sat on the porch with my coffee and Molly’s. It was too cold to sit out there long, but that was ok, because the coffee didn’t last long anyway. I went back in, poured another cup of coffee and Molly’s and started cleaning up my mess. I needed to get the kitchen ready to start making the rest of the dinner.

I then poured another cup of coffee with Molly’s. Before I finished that cup of coffee, my pocket started beeping letting me know that the temperature in the smoker had fallen too low. So I quickly went out and tried stoking it up. Unfortunately, 15 minutes later temp was still dropping so I started another chimney of charcoal. I used only bigger chips in it so that I could more easily put them into the smoker.  I anxiously kept checking the charcoal chimney to see if coals were lit enough to use. The whole time the temperature in the smoker kept slowly sinking. I was starting to think I might have the turkey ready by Christmas at the rate things were going. Finally, the additional coals were ready and I put them in the smoker with some more mesquite, and additional unlit coals. It took a few minutes, but temps started to rise again.

I washed the coal dust from my hands and went back into the kitchen. My next planned step was to make the cranberries. I usually start with the basic 1 cup of water, 1 cup of sugar and add 1 bag of cranberries. From there I add ground cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger powder, a little ground cloves, cayenne pepper, zest of one orange, and some chopped walnuts. This year I decided, while starting it, to sub in some honey for some of the sugar. I put the water, sugar, and honey into a pot, and put it on the stove with burner on high. While I was waiting for it to come to a boil, I started looking at what else I could get ready, and totally forgot about it. That is until it boiled over. Sugar honey water boiled out of the pan, onto the stove, into the stove etc. I quickly pulled what was left off of the stove, set it aside, and finished my coffee.

After pouring a cup of Molly’s with a dash of coffee, I started cleaning up my mess. About this time Jessica wandered into the kitchen, and informed me that her mom and Tom were bringing the cranberries. This left me with a partial pot of honey sugar water that I didn’t need. But, less work for me, so I celebrated with another Molly’s with a hint of coffee, and then started another pot coffee.

Shortly after I cleaned my sticky mess from the top and insides of the stove, Jessica’s mother, Darla, her mother’s husband, Tom, and her grandmother, Bernie, arrived. We greeted them. Their additions to dinner, and their luggage were brought in. Her brother and Menderes woke up around this time and joined the throng. It was general chaos for a while, and the Molly’s with coffee coloring was going down quickly.

After a while, they all started talking about making breakfast before getting started on dinner. This seemed fine with me, but as with most things, they took a while to get started on it. The smoker temp was doing well, and the turkey was making up for lost time. Temperature of the meat probe showed it cooking quickly. Actually, before anyone got started on breakfast, I started to realize turkey was cooking too quickly. It wasn’t quite 11am yet, and the turkey breast had already reached a temperature of 150deg. It only needed to get to 160!!! Now I was cooking the damn thing too fast! I tried to get them moving on breakfast, but I was the only one that seemed to understand that dinner was coming, and possibly coming soon. If they didn’t get breakfast going, they were going to have turkey for breakfast.

I poured some more Molly’s and went out to try and cool off the smoker.  I cracked open the top, and side door for a while. Once temp was down around 250 (it had been around 390) in the smoker, closed it all up again and went back inside and topped my Molly’s off, and added a little coffee coloring.

IMG_2773Fortunately, breakfast was now underway. I was a bit grumpy (a lot grumpy if you ask my wife), and didn’t want to breakfast with everyone. I just wanted to get them started on dinner. Wasn’t sure how long I could nurse the turkey along without drying it out too much. Fortunately, the water pot still had plenty of water steaming away in it. In retrospect, maybe a morning long breakfast of Molly’s and coffee wasn’t the best idea, but at the time I thought it was working well.

Not soon enough for my liking, breakfast was done and I helped clean it up, while drinking another mug of Molly’s. I then helped get started on the rest of Thanksgiving dinner. I was continually in and out of the house though, as smoker temperature kept getting too high. I would go out, partially open top and door again, and then when temp dropped low enough shut them again. The good thing was that Jessica, Darla, and Bernie were all into IMG_2776dinner prep mode and things were going well in the kitchen. At least until we got to the dressing. Jessica wanted to do it one way, her mom a slightly different, I chimed in with another variation and got ignored. Eventually I had enough, or Molly had enough, and I left the rest of the dinner prep to the three of them, which they handled quite skillfully. I instead decided to quit pretending, drained my Molly’s and went down to the basement and poured myself a pint of Southern Tier IPA.20141216_203218_resized

I had to keep sneaking through the kitchen to cool off the smoker, and then back through again, but managed to not interfere with the work going on there. At some point though I did end up with a knife in my hand, but merely used it to chop some onions and celery for the dressing. I also finally found the right amount to crack open top of smoker to keep it at a steady 250deg, so I didn’t have to keep going out. The turkey temp actually dropped back down to 140 and stayed there.

Finally, after I don’t know how much Molly’s and about 3 pints of IPA, dinner was approaching completion. I went out, closed up the smoker, stirred up the coals, and got the turkey going again. It took about 45 minutes, but the turkey hit 160, and dinner was ready. I just needed to let it rest 15 minutes and then carve it up.IMG_2791 IMG_2790

Around 2pm we all sat down to eat. We had initially planned for around 4pm, and the way things started with the turkey, I was thinking I’d be lucky first for 10pm, then noon, but it all worked out well in the end. I was feeling no pain, the turkey was tasty, as were the dressing, mashed purple potatoes, mashed turnips, candied sweet potatoes, cranberries, apple pie, pumpkin pie (made with real pumpkin that Jessica cooked up), and cranberry bread. I wish we could have had all of our family and friends with us, but we’re grateful for those that were.

After dinner I had to finish carving up the turkey. The carcass was put in a freezer bag and stuck in the freezer for Jessica to use to make soup. I then had over an hour of clean up for my all of my smoking gear, including the smoker itself. By the time I was done, over 30hrs had been invested in smoking the turkey. A lot of time, but well worth the effort. Good news is, we still have a turkey in the freezer so I can do it all again next summer…

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30+ Hours of Love Up In Smoke…

IMG_2730For the second time in my life, I played host for Thanksgiving. The first was long ago in a galaxy far, far away, or Texas, which is pretty much the same thing. It seems like a lifetime ago, but I haven’t forgotten it, or any of the wonderful people that I met while I was down there, though only a couple of them were at that dinner. It was long enough ago, it was almost like I was doing it for the first time.

We originally were supposed to have a much larger group, but due to foreign bureaucracy, our group was a bit smaller. When we were expecting the bigger group we weren’t sure if one turkey would be enough, and there was no way our small oven could make two, so I had volunteered to smoke a turkey to compliment the oven roasted one. However, after we found out about the smaller gathering, it was decided that we would drop the oven roasted turkey, and I would smoke one anyway. This would give us more room in kitchen and allow the oven to be used for other things. I have smoked a turkey before, not for Thanksgiving though. Thus putting a little more pressure on this one since it would be the center piece of the meal and had to be ready to go when all the rest of the days delicacies were. Also, even though my last smoked turkey was good, I felt I needed to elevate it a bit so that it did the day proper justice.

The easiest way that I could come up with to knock this turkey out of the ball park was to give it a good brining. Brining is commonly used in smoking meats, but I’d never done it before. Thank goodness for the good old internet, where everything on it 100% accurate and true. Well, at least occasionally, but it is a good source for things like this. I googled a few brine recipes, glanced at them, thought simple enough, and then totally disregarded them and went at it Douglas style, which means I winged the mother…

I did see and remember enough to know that generally you put some salt in water, boil with some aromatic seasonings until all of the salt is dissolved. I also saw that some of the aromatics can be added in after the boiling before you add in the remaining water. Simple enough!

IMG_2722Brining day was Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving. We kicked off the day with an early swim, and I do mean early. Then a quick breakfast and it was brining time! I started with about 1 ½ cups of salt and 4 cups of water, but quickly learned that that wasn’t enough water to fully dissolve the salt, so I added in a couple more cups. To this I added: a handful of black peppercorns, a handful of dry thyme, a handful dry of oregano, and a handful of dry basil. Yeah, that’s about as accurate a measurement as I ever use, usually I just eyeball things, or add to taste, which is probably why I can’t bake. Anyway, I let this simmer for a while to fully release all of the flavors. I also wanted to add a handful of coriander seed, and a handful of dry bay leaves, but I didn’t have any.

IMG_2725Once the brine was pretty well cooked I made the bad decision that I was going to go get the coriander and bay leaves and add them in. I had my mind set on it, and couldn’t let it go, so needed to make a store run. Besides, I needed more charcoal.  I told Jessica what I was doing, and my quick trip quickly became the full shopping trip for all of Thanksgiving. It was the day before Thanksgiving, it was snowing heavily, so roads were in bad shape, and therefore I was going to be fighting the last minute Thanksgiving shoppers and blizzard panic shoppers, what fun. To top it off, I went to the wrong store, the one that didn’t carry my brand of charcoal (Royal Oak. I used to be a Kingsford person, but decided I didn’t want the chemicals in my food), and had to go to a second store during my outing.

IMG_2728Over an hour later I was back home, and ready to continue brining. I added in the coriander and bay leaves, and set them to simmering. While the brine was cooking, I chopped some onions and garlic and threw them into my brining bucket (5 gallon bucket I bought at hardware store for $3). I added the brine to the bucket and let it soften the onion and garlic and start to draw out their flavors. Next I added what I thought was the crowning touch, the king of my aromatics, a pint of Southern Tier IPA! I felt this would really get things hopping…

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Once my brine mixture was complete I added my IMG_2732turkey to the bucket and started adding enough water to completely submerge it. Jessica quickly noticed a problem, the turkey was starting to float, but I had anticipated it and already had a fix in mind. I took the pot I had started the brine in, put it in the bucket on IMG_2733the turkey and added water until the turkey sank again. I then finished adding water until the turkey was completely submerged. A quick stir and it was all set.

It was around noon when I finished and the plan was to let it brine until the next morning when it would go into the smoker. We did have a bit of a problem in regards to how to refrigerate it overnight. Our fridge was too full, and I didn’t want to remove my keg of Southern Tier IPA from the kegerator and let it get warm. There were a couple of suggestions that since it was so cold out that we could leave it out on the back porch, but I didn’t want the raccoons and neighborhood cats to feast without us. Eventually it was decided that inside my truck would be the perfect spot, so there it went for the night.

Thanksgiving morning I knew I needed to get going on things early if we were going to eat dinner at a reasonable time. I have an old charcoal smoker, and it was going to be a cold, windy day so controlling temperature was going to be a challenge. With that in mind I set my alarm for 4:30am.

The rest of this post, the actual smoking of the turkey, will follow soon in Part II…

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Time to Celebrate and Promote Athletic Training: March is National Athletic Training Month – We Got Your Back #NATM2014

natm pic

Every March is National Athletic Training Month. For some it is a time to celebrate athletic training, and thank their athletic trainers for all the hard work they do. To show appreciation for keeping their athletes safe, and for helping active bodies of all ages prevent, and rehabilitate injury. But for me, and for many others, it is a time to educate our communities about what athletic trainers are, and what they can do for them. It is also a time to help further and improve the profession of athletic training, which helps out every active person around us.

I was, and still am an athlete, in addition to being an athletic trainer. Over the years I suffered many an injury myself and needed help. Part of that is why I decided years ago to become an athletic trainer, and over the years have come to know many athletic trainers that I have to thank for helping me get to where I am now.

For those of you that don’t know, athletic trainers are sports medicine professionals. We are not trainers, but rather highly trained medical professionals specializing in prevention, emergency care, concussion evaluation and return to play, rehabilitation of injury, education, and so much more. They don’t just care for athletes they care for everyone that is active.

The profession of athletic training is continually growing, and as athletic trainers it is our responsibility to step forward, help the growth, and grow with it. It is our responsibility to do what we can to help protect our athletes and encourage parents, doctors, administrators, and everyone else to help us do this. One way to do this is to help support and push for legislation that allows athletic trainers to fully use their training and expertise. In New York the New York State Athletic Trainers’ Association is currently working with legislators, physicians, and more, to update our practice act. Our practice act is the legal guidelines that determine the education and training required to be an athletic trainer and the limits of what they can do to help their athletes and patients. Our new practice act, if passed, will tremendously improve the care we give our athletes, and ensure that only those with the proper training, education, and certification can perform the job of athletic trainer.

For the rest of March, and beyond, please thank your local athletic trainer, and help support our profession, and in doing so, help us protect and care for our athletes. Thank you and happy National Athletic Training Month!

natm back pic 2

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Looking to Improve

Resolve: to make firm decision about.

Resolution: a course of action determined or decided on.

Goal: the result or achievement toward which an effort is directed.

I’m not of these New Year’s resolution kind of people. That doesn’t mean I don’t set goals for improvement, I just don’t make a yearly determination for them. I always have jessthem, and as one is achieved, a new one is set. In my opinion, if you aren’t looking to improve, you’ve given up and are just sorting floating to the end. I’m all about improving, I’m just not resolute about it, merely have a goal of it. However, I am deciding to follow my wife’s example and publish some of my current goals. They range from athletic, to work, to professional, and to personal.

So, here they are, and in no particular order:

1 – I want to start posting in my blog more often. I’ve been very sporadic since I first started it, and this bothers me. I love writing, and sharing my thoughts, and adventures. I have dozens of posts partially written, I just haven’t gotten around to finishing them. Last year for National Athletic Training Month (NATM) I had a goal to write a post a day NATM 2014 logo colorrelated to athletic training. I only missed 2 or 3 days. I thought this would get me started again, but no, I went several months without another post.

2 – I want to continue to improve the care I give my athletes at work. I’ve been an athletic trainer at my current school for over 13 years, and each year I’ve tried to make some improvements. This involves not just improving the facility, equipment, and event and practice coverage, but also improving my knowledge and skills. There is always something that can be improved, new techniques, and technology to learn and acquire. Always room to improve.

3 – I’m still looking for my sub 11 hour Ironman, and do another sub 5 hour ½ Ironman. I also want to qualify for my 3rd age group national championships in triathlon and finish in top 20% of my age group.

4 – I want to improve my swimming. Part of this is for my triathlon goals, part of this is just because in over 7 years of triathlon I have improved in both running and cycling, but my swim is unchanged. I want to get stronger, and faster. I want to return to Swim Ocean City and not only finish the full 9 miles, but I want to do so in less than 5 hours. If I’m the lastopen_swim_ocean_city_maryland_1-300x252 finisher again, that is fine, I just don’t want to look like I’m on deaths doorstep this year.

5 – I want to continue to become more involved in my profession. Several years ago I took on the task of being the LinkedIn account manager for the National Athletic Trainers’ Association District 2 (NATAD2). About a year later I took on the responsibility for handling the Section One Athletic Trainers’ Society (SOATS) Facebook, and Twitter accounts, and later took over their LinkedIn account, basically becoming their social media coordinator. From there I started becoming more and more vocal in supporting and promoting our profession on social media, and everywhere else I could. Including the blogging I mentioned about during NATM above. Back in October, 2013, I became the New York State Athletic Trainers’ Association’s (NYSATA) Newsletter Chair and Editor. I’m not sure what the next step will be: larger role in promoting NATM, being very active in helping find support in getting our (NYSATA) new practice act passed, or other. But, I’m sure I’ll find something.

6 – I want to become a better husband. I feel I already do a lot for my wonderful wife, but wedding picI’m sure that there is more I can do, ways I can better show my love for her, and ways I can improve our relationship. I’ve put this late in the list, but it is the most important one. I’ve got some ideas, but it is just a matter of actually implementing them. No, I’m not sharing them on here though.

7 – I want to do a better job checking things off of our home improvement to do list, which is quite extensive. We’ve done a lot, but there are a lot of little projects that have I’ve been putting off and a few projects that I’ve never quite finished. This would also help with goal #6, but only a little bit.

Sorry, nothing exciting here. Unfortunately, I’m off to a poor start on it too. This post was supposed to have been written, and was actually started, at the beginning of January, and here it is February and I’m making my first blog post. Fortunately I have been doing better with projects around the house, you can find some here, and here, I edited my first NYSATA newsletter, and I have done some nice things for my wife, but still got ways to go there too…

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