Dustin Fink is an Athletic Trainer at Mount Zion public schools in Illinois and Founder of The Concussion Blog which is an education and communication outpost from an athletic trainers perspective. I followed Dustin's work on his blog for years when I was eager to learn more about the injury that ended my football career back in 2007. I referenced countless research articles listen on his site on papers in both under grad and grad school. Through the blog and twitter, Dustin made a name for himself as the go-to source on everything and anything related to concussions. Dustin is a legend in the concussion awareness movement that we have been experiencing during the last decade.
We recorded this episode the day after Super Bowl 52 where the Philadelphia Eagles beat the New England Patriots. Dustin starts off the interview by giving his thoughts on gives his thoughts on the concussions Brandin Cooks and Patrick Chung suffered in that game and Gronk's retirement rumors. Below you will find a list of other topics we touch on in our conversation:
“There is no such thing as a concussion protocol in the super bowl”
- Dustin's thoughts on the proposed bill to ban on tackle football before 12 in his home state of Illinois.
- Dustin takes us through some of the 14 concussions he has suffered to date.
- The importance of limiting exposure to collisions
- How Dustin has battled depression throughout his own experience with post concussion syndrome.
- What triggers Dustin's PCS symptoms.
- A coping mechanism for depression Dustin uses.
- How writing for The Concussion Blog was a form of therapy for Dustin.
- How Dustin prioritizes nutrition despite the long hours of an athletic trainer.
- How concussion coverage has changed since starting the blog.
- Alan Schwarz’s (New York Times) influence on the concussion media movement.
- Dustin’s thoughts on concussion protocol discrepancies and his assessment of the NFL’s approach to concussions. (His answer might surprise you!)
- Why Dustin would allow his kids to play football in high school.
“Why are we afraid to admit the game is dangerous?”
- The evolution of how adolescent athletes view concussions over the years and why I might not have suffered second impact syndrome had I been playing in 2018 instead of 2007.
- What Dustin's preseason concussion talk looks like and how it has evolved.
- How Dustin builds trust with his coaches and athletes.
- Dustin's advice to athletes who suffer season-ending injuries.
- Why improper recovery is the #1 reason kids get injured.
- Recovery tools discussed : Whoop, Catapult
- Why Dustin is surprised at the candidness of his athletes today.
- Aggressive vs. passive athletes and injury rates.
- Whats on the horizon for concussion research especially when it comes to recovery.