Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Searching for Information: Position & Consensus Statements

For those of you who read the A4IA blog on a regular basis you know that I often refer to position statements from prominent associations and organizations in order to support some of the safety information that I have provided.  Some of you may be familiar with how to find these resources, but others may just follow the links I provide to a specific statement.  Knowing this, this week’s post will spend some time connecting you to the resource pages where you can find statements on a variety of topics.  My primary focus will be on organizations and resources that relate most directly to youth sport safety, but some associations may have a much broader scope.  For those associations with a broader scope…. Feel free to explore, you never know what you’ll find getting lost in an internet search!

I find position statements useful in many situations because they are scientifically based, peer reviewed statements put together by the subject experts.  A word to the wise though, it is always important to know that new information regarding a given topic can come to light at any time making older information instantly obsolete, so be sure that when reviewing a position statements to critically analyze it and be sure you are looking at the most current information.  In order to give some organization to the information I provide I am going to provide resources from organizations with a sports medicine focus and general health focus.  The sources will be listed in alphabetical order.  Please remember this list is in no way inclusive of every organization and resource available, but is intended to give you a connection to the most prominent organizations and most often referred to statements.

American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) is a national professional association that represents the profession of sports medicine from all angles supporting physicians, athletic trainers, fitness professionals and other associated professionals.  Position stands on topics ranging from nutrition and athletic performance and AEDs in fitness facilities to exercise and bone health can be found in a collection HERE.  Position stands are published in the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.

American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) is a professional organization that represents sports medicine physicians.  Position statements can be found HERE.  Topics addressed include concussion, ADHD, and mononucleosis and sports participation.  Statements are typically published in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine.

American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) is an international professional organization for sports medicine physicians and other allied health professionals that work in sports medicine.  Consensus statements on topics ranging from sports medicine management to team physician concerns can be found HERE.  The AOSSM supports a variety of publications including American Journal of Sports Medicine, Sports Health:  A Multidisciplinary Approach and Orthopedic Journal of Sports Medicine.

Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI) is the sports science research organization that focuses on learning more about topics related to athlete performance.  Topics include hydration, nutrition, well-being, and exercise physiology.  While the group does not provide specific position statements they have provided important research that other organizations have consistently cited.  Check out their publications and the Sports Science Exchange.

International Federation of Sports Medicine (FIMS) is the home to individual members and broader organizations who all have a focus in sports medicine.  Position statements can be HERE.  Topics range from the female athlete triad and fluid replacement to vegetarian and vegan diets in athletes.  Statements are published in the International SportsMed Journal.

National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) is the professional association that represents athletic training professionals.  Position statements on topics ranging from heat illness, sudden death and dietary supplements to safe weight management and managing asthma can be found in a collection HERE.  Position statements are published in the Journal of Athletic Training.

National Operating Committee on the Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) is a national organization that provides safety testing for much the athletic equipment used in this country.  Most notably football, softball/baseball and lacrosse helmets.  Equipment safety standards information can be found HERE.

4th Annual International Consensus Conference on Concussion in Sport (2013) is available in the British Journal of Sports Medicine or online HERE.

The resources listed above are those that have position statement/stand links available on their website.  There are other organizations out there that provide information through their peer-reviewed research publications, but may or may not publish position statements.  Some of these organizations include the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), United States Army Research Institute for Environmental Medicine (USARIEM), Sports Medicine Australia, the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) and the Association for Applied Sports Psychology (AASP) just to name a few.

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetics Association) is an international organization for food and nutrition professionals.  Position statements can be found HERE.  Topics are all associated with nutrition and diet. The most interesting position paper for athletes would be “Nutrition and Athletic Performance for Adults”.  Position statements are published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

American Academy of Neurology (AAN) is a national organization that supports physicians who specialize in neurology.  Position statements (and other policy information) can be found HERE.  Statements are available for a variety of topics, but the most relevant one is titled, “Sports Concussion”. 

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is a national organization that supports physicians and other allied health professionals who work primarily with the pediatric population.  Position statements (or policy statements) can be found HERE.  The statements are grouped by committee, simply click on the committee of interest and then you can peruse the available statements.  For those with a sports medicine focus check out the statements under the Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness.  It addresses topics from cheerleading injuries to heat stress in children and a lot more in between. Statements are published in Pediatrics.

American Heart Association (AHA) in conjunction with the American Stroke Association work to provide information, education, and research on the various topics associated with cardiovascular health.  Position statements on a variety of topics can be found HERE.  For those with a sports medicine focus when searching by topic you can find a few key statements under “athletes”.  Depending on your focus you can also find treatment and management statements regarding specific cardiac conditions, the use of AEDs, exercise guidelines, EKG guidelines and much, much more.  Statements are published in Circulation.

Again, this is just a sampling of potential organizations that are focused more broadly on health and well-being, but with a closer look may be able to provide you some useful information specific to your sports medicine questions.  This list contains organizations and statements that I thought most relevant and I most often refer to.  As you continue to scour the internet for information you may find others.  I encourage you to share what you find!  Let’s learn from each other. 

In this week’s post I have focused on an organization’s ability to provide position statements, but it does not mean that an organization that does not publish position statements does not provide useful information.  There are many, many organizations out there such as the Korey Stringer Institute, the Matthew Gfeller Foundation and others that are conducting research and answering important questions.  You should always work to find the most current information on any given topic and critically analyze it.  Just because it’s in print, doesn’t mean it’s good information.  Use position statements as a starting point, but always challenge yourself to go further and really delve into whatever topic you’re trying to learn more about.

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