Clark Miracle - 7th grade skull fracture 4-10-10

Discussion about ways to make the sport safer and discussion of past injuries so we can learn how to avoid them in the future.
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Clark Miracle - 7th grade skull fracture 4-10-10

Unread postby rainbowgirl28 » Tue Apr 13, 2010 5:03 pm

http://www.grahamleader.com/index.asp?Story=18721

Seventh grader recovering from fractured skull
by David Rupkalvis
(Posted Today 03:01 pm)
editor@grahamleader.com

A Graham Junior High School seventh grader is recovering from a fractured skull sustained during the district track meet Saturday at Brownwood.
Clark Miracle was injured while competing in the pole vault at the meet. According to witnesses at the meet, Miracle was warming up when he fell backwards, missing the pit and landing on his head.
Graham ISD Superintendent Beau Rees said several Graham coaches were on the scene when Miracle was hurt.
“He was injured warming up for the pole vault,” Rees said. “Our Athletic Director Kenny Davidson was there with coach (Robert) Sides and coach (Todd) Vinson from the junior high. They were in contact with our trainer. The trainer said he should go to the hospital.”
Rees said Miracle was taken by his parents to Brownwood Regional Medical Center, and the Miracles were accompanied by Davidson.
At the hospital, a CT scan revealed a fractured skull, a concussion and bleeding on the brain.
Miracle was later transported by ambulance to Cook Children’s Center in Fort Worth.
Within minutes of Miracle’s accident, word began to spread through Graham, and many churches called on their members to pray for the Graham teen.
A second CT scan at Cook on Sunday revealed a second small fracture and a second area of bleeding.
Despite the injuries, Miracle remained in stable condition in the intensive care unit. A report from his family Sunday night showed that Miracle was awake and alert with no neurological problems other than a headache.
On Monday morning, Miracle was removed from the intensive care unit and moved to a private room. Several hours later, Miracle was released from Cook and allowed to return to Graham with his family.
Rees said Graham Independent School District does not have a specific rule requiring athletes to wear helmets when participating in the pole vault, but he said the track coaches typically do require Graham students to take the extra precaution.
“To my knowledge, all of our kids are required to wear the helmets,” Rees said. “There is no UIL requirement. From the meets I’ve been to, our athletes are in the minority. Most schools do not have their athletes wear helmets.”
Davidson said track coaches at Graham Junior High and Graham High School do require helmets to be worn during the pole vault.
“We make our kids wear helmets,” he said. “It was just a little warmup. It was kind of a freak deal.”

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Re: Clark Miracle - 7th grade skull fracture 4-10-10

Unread postby rainbowgirl28 » Tue Apr 13, 2010 5:07 pm

This is an interesting story. Usually when people say "fell backwards" it means they came up short. I am guessing that he fell back and hit his head on the runway or area around the runway. It doesn't sound like he lost consciousness, but it is a good reminder that any head injury can be extremely serious, even if the athlete seems OK at first.

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Re: Clark Miracle - 7th grade skull fracture 4-10-10

Unread postby rainbowgirl28 » Thu Apr 15, 2010 12:50 am

The reporter thought he hit his head in the box. If I had to bet, I would bet he either missed the box (with his pole) or hit it high.

He cleared 9'0 at an earlier meet, not sure if that was his PR. Pretty good for a 7th grader.

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Re: Clark Miracle - 7th grade skull fracture 4-10-10

Unread postby trustmeimbetter » Fri Apr 16, 2010 1:47 pm

Helmets are stupid.... anyone who requires them does not understand the sport. It should be a personal choice not a requirement.

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Re: Clark Miracle - 7th grade skull fracture 4-10-10

Unread postby souleman » Fri Apr 16, 2010 4:04 pm

Actually they are not stupid. It hasn't been clearly proven that a helmet would make a jumper safer or not but I'm guessing in this case the kid would not have fractured his skull had he had one on. The key thing here is we as enthusiasts, vaulters and coaches have to support any move to make this event (if nothing else) appear safer if not actually safer. School systems all across the country are just looking for an excuse to eliminate the event. Safety issues are generally the horse those that want it gone ride on. I'm glad he is doing better and praying for a speedy recovery. Later...........Mike

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Re: Clark Miracle - 7th grade skull fracture 4-10-10

Unread postby rainbowgirl28 » Fri Apr 16, 2010 7:01 pm

http://www.grahamleader.com/index.asp?Story=18770

Vaulter continues miraculous recovery
by David Rupkalvis
(Posted Today 03:29 pm)
editor@grahamleader.com

After surviving some of the toughest days of his life, Clark Miracle is recovering at home and looking forward to getting back to school.
Michele Miracle said her son still has some pain in his neck and still has a long road ahead of him, but despite two fractures in his skull and two areas of bleeding on the brain, he is doing well.
“He is my miracle,” Michele said. “This truly is a story that could have had a lot of different endings.”
The story began at the beginning of the junior high district track meet last Saturday. Clark, who was scheduled to compete in the discus, pole vault and three running events, was warming up for the pole vault competition. He was doing run throughs to get his steps down when disaster struck.
During his run through, Clark was approaching the pit at a full sprint. The pit has a large metal frame with a box in which the pole is to be inserted. As he planted his pole, the end of the pole caught early on the warped lip of the box. There was duct tape covering the front of the box, apparently trying to make a ramp for the pole to slide up and back down into the box. When Clark planted, the pole caught on the duct tape and was jerked out of his hands, sending Clark back flipping onto the exposed metal box, which did not have padding. As Clark hit the box, he crumpled backwards and blacked out.
Minutes after Clark fell, Michele and Kevin Miracle arrived at the stadium in Brownwood. They were quickly told their son was injured. The Miracles went out on to the field and found Clark lying down on a nearby mat with his head resting on a bag of ice.
“I could tell he was hurt because he wasn’t trying to get up,” Michele said. “His vision was affected for a brief time. He didn’t know who was who.”
Despite the injuries, Clark wanted to stay and compete in the track meet, but Michele overruled her son and decided to take him to the hospital in Brownwood.
“I thought from his shoulders to his head something was wrong, but I had no idea someone would tell me he had a fractured skull and a brain bleed,” Michele said.
Over the next several hours, the Miracles stuck together as a family as Clark was examined in Brownwood and sent by ambulance to Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth.
Even as the Miracle family was dealing with their personal tragedy, their friends and family in Graham did the one thing they could — they prayed. Michele said she knew there were prayers being sent up to God, and the collective effort made a huge difference.
“It sustained us,” she said. “I could feel it. I knew there were prayers being lifted up.”
Kevin and Michele Miracle also spent a lot of time praying. At Cook’s on Saturday night, they spent the night praying for their son.
“We knew the bleeding in the brain had all the blood it could take,” Michele said. “So we sat behind him all night and prayed for the bleeding to stop.”
On Sunday morning, Clark underwent a second CT scan that revealed a second fracture and a second area of bleeding. Michele said that was the hardest part for the family. But despite being down, God sustained the Miracles and was working on Clark’s body.
By Sunday afternoon, Clark remained stable. His blood pressure was high, but doctors allowed him to be moved into a room. On Monday morning, he was still given morphine for pain and was later given Vicodin. After he was able to find a comfortable position and sleep for a awhile, they decided to let him go home.
“He wanted his own bed and pillow,” Michele said.
Michele said looking back over the last week, the outpouring of love from the community is the biggest thing that stands out.
“The prayers, the care, the concern and the visits, especially from the coaches and junior high principal Mr. Gordy, was amazing,” Michele said. “The coaches have visited us, they called Clark and they prayed with Clark.”
Many of Clark’s classmates also made the trip to Fort Worth to visit him and others called and texted. Michele said Clark had a hard time early on because he felt he let his team down by not being able to compete in the district meet. But a text from a teammate helped. She said the boy texted, saying “Clark, I got to run for you. I ran as hard as I could, and we got third place. The medal is yours.”
“The friendships, the prayers and the love have been great,” Michele said. “We really want to say thank you. God has shown His love through everyone who called, texted and visited. Clark has been so moved and so touched. It’s meant so much to us.”
Michele said one of the hardest times for her was when she was doing the laundry Tuesday.
As she was sorting through the clothes, she found Clark’s track uniform and almost broke down. But showing the same determination Clark has shown, she chose to look forward.
“My son’s going to be back next year, and he’ll finish what he started,” she said. “It’s not what we can’t do right now, it’s what is ahead that we will focus on.”
Because of the injuries, Clark will not be able to compete in contact sports. That means he will not play football and won’t be able to compete in the pole vault. But a piece of his short time as a vaulter will stay at Graham Junior High after Clark tied the school record with a vault of 9-0 earlier this year. The district meet would have been Clark’s third time to compete in the pole vault. He won the gold medal in his two previous meets and was determined to break the school record at district, Michele said.
“He and coach (Todd) Vinson worked hard together to attempt to achieve this goal,” she said. “We have such gratitude for all the time and effort coach Vinson and coach (Robert) Sides have given to Clark.”
For now, Clark is concentrating on getting better. Michele said the next eight weeks are crucial as his brain and skull heal.
“It is imperative during these eight weeks that he protects his head from being bumped,” Michele said.
Clark will hopefully return to school next week on at least a part-time basis. He has to be very careful for eight weeks and can’t compete in any sports for six months. But in time, Michele is hopeful he will be completely healed — all as a result of prayer and the power of God.
“Through the scary parts and the tragedy, there were the blessings,” Michele said. “When you’re on the receiving end and people are doing this for you, it’s just amazing.”

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Re: Clark Miracle - 7th grade skull fracture 4-10-10

Unread postby rainbowgirl28 » Fri Apr 16, 2010 7:03 pm

I am opposed to mandatory helmets for all, but in this case, a helmet most likely would have helped. What's crazy is this vaulter DOES wear a helmet, see the pictures in the link above, he just wasn't wearing it for this warmup jump.

Lippy boxes... duct tape is not a solution! It's a band-aid that doesn't work (unless it's a tiny lip), just provides an optical illusion...

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Re: Clark Miracle - 7th grade skull fracture 4-10-10

Unread postby Divalent » Fri Apr 16, 2010 9:58 pm

Look back at some old threads on the issue (reaching back years ago), I got the sense that the main objection to the wearing of helmets is that some poeple speculated that they might increase the risk of neck injuries due (IIRC) the additional neck rotation when a vaulter hit the mat, because of the additional "thickness" of their head. (Did I recall correctly?) IOW, no one disputed that a helmet would decrease the severity of injury where a head hits a hard object or surface, but the rationale seem to be that *that* benefit would likely be offset by a greater risk under other circumstances.

In any event, given that many states do have mandatory helmet rule, some for many years, it seems to me there should be data that would be able to address the question. Is anybody (or any organization) studying the issue? Here we have an injury where it seems highly likely that a helmet would have protected him. Are there instances of severe injuries in helmet-wearing kids where the helmet likely was a contributing factor to the severity of the injury? IOW, is there any evidence supports the hypothesis that helmets would be a net detriment?

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Re: Clark Miracle - 7th grade skull fracture 4-10-10

Unread postby rainbowgirl28 » Fri Apr 16, 2010 10:33 pm

Divalent wrote:Look back at some old threads on the issue (reaching back years ago), I got the sense that the main objection to the wearing of helmets is that some poeple speculated that they might increase the risk of neck injuries due (IIRC) the additional neck rotation when a vaulter hit the mat, because of the additional "thickness" of their head. (Did I recall correctly?) IOW, no one disputed that a helmet would decrease the severity of injury where a head hits a hard object or surface, but the rationale seem to be that *that* benefit would likely be offset by a greater risk under other circumstances.


You are partially correct. The concern over the increased risk of neck hyperflexion injuries from a safe landing is one objection to mandatory helmets. There is dispute over how much helmets would help when striking a hard surface. In the case here, it seems like he fell from a pretty low height. In cases like Kevin Dare, where the vaulter fell from a great height, it is unlikely that a helmet would be of much help, both because of the limits of the force a helmet can withstand before becoming too bulky, and because there are usually neck injuries associated with these falls as well.



In any event, given that many states do have mandatory helmet rule, some for many years, it seems to me there should be data that would be able to address the question. Is anybody (or any organization) studying the issue? Here we have an injury where it seems highly likely that a helmet would have protected him. Are there instances of severe injuries in helmet-wearing kids where the helmet likely was a contributing factor to the severity of the injury? IOW, is there any evidence supports the hypothesis that helmets would be a net detriment?



Studies cost $$, no one stands to profit significantly from studying that, therefore no studies have been done.

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Re: Clark Miracle - 7th grade skull fracture 4-10-10

Unread postby Divalent » Sat Apr 17, 2010 1:15 pm

rainbowgirl28 wrote:...There is dispute over *how much* helmets would help when striking a hard surface. ...
IMO, this is only relevant if there is evidence that helmet also increases risk in another way. I think there can be no dispute that, for at least 99.9% of all ways your head can hit a hard surface, the head trauma produced will be lower if you have a helmet on, even though in any particular instance we can't pin down the precise amount of benefit. The outer hard shell spreads the impact energy over a wider area of the head (and so impact force will be lower per area of head) and some of the energy will be absorbed by the helmet padding (meaning less reaches the head). So many other activities (motorcycle and bike riding, hockey and lacross, football, etc) have proven the general benefit of reducing head injuries. IOW, our understanding of physics provides a sound theoretical basis for the view that helmets will help protect the head in many situations, and there are years of experience in analogous activities that provide objective evidence that strongly supports that view. In every one of the catastrophic injuries you have cataloged, where ever there was head injury due to impact, we can be highly confident the extent of that injury would have been less had they worn a helmet. Maybe not enough to have changed the outcome, but maybe so. (I think most would agree that the injury that is the topic of this thread more than likely would have been greatly minimized or eliminated had he had his helmet on.)

So, IMO the only remaining question is whether the additional risk (of hyperflexion or any other unexpected risk) when vaulting with a helmet is sufficiently great to negate the clear benefit they provide in the reducing impact trauma.

As I understand it, this hyperflexion risk has not been well quantified. It was brought up at a time when the number of athletes that actually used helmets was probably less than a thousandth of a percent of all vauters, and as far as I know, it was never listed as a factor in any serious or catastrophic injury suffered by any actual vaulter. (But since such injuries are rare, this was not unexpected given the rare use of helmets). IOW, at the time it was merely a speculative risk (however well reasoned).

When there is no data (because so few use them), it does make sense to use caution, and to use our general understanding physics and medicine to try to anticipate unintended consequences. However, with so many states now mandating helmet use, there are enough kids using them that, if it was a real risk, it seems to me we should be seeing some evidence of it now. I don't know the actual numbers, but if 10% of kids use them across the country, there should be a data set that is approaching the equivalent of about 1 years worth of all HS kids using them.

We do have evidence of a number of serious injuries with head trauma where it is reasonable to project at least some benefit from a helmet. So my question is, is there any actual evidence for this hyperflexion injury (or any other unanticipated risk) that is significant enough (and severe enough) to negate part or all of this benefit? Any instances at all?

rainbowgirl28 wrote:Studies cost $$, no one stands to profit significantly from studying that, therefore no studies have been done.
I think there are enough people with a concern and a stake in this issue (vaulters, coaches, schools, parents, every HS association, etc) that a well designed study could easily get grant money from NIH and/or PHS to fund it. It wouldn't be motivated by profit; it would be the public health angle that would do it.

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Re: Clark Miracle - 7th grade skull fracture 4-10-10

Unread postby rainbowgirl28 » Sun Apr 18, 2010 1:10 am

There is much discussion across many sports that use helmets about whether the wearing of a helmet increases risk-taking behavior by increasing the athlete's confidence and sense of security, especially among boys.

Not saying that we should ban helmets for this reason, just that there are more factors to consider against them than the neck hyperflexion one.

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Re: Clark Miracle - 7th grade skull fracture 4-10-10

Unread postby master » Sun Apr 18, 2010 1:27 am

trustmeimbetter wrote:Helmets are stupid.... anyone who requires them does not understand the sport.

Would you care to share some justification for your comments?
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