Philadelphia Eagles News

Head Athletic Trainer Rick Burkholder

Opening Remarks: "I'm going to give you two updates, one on (DE) Victor Abiamiri and one on Chris Clemons. First of all, Victor, as (head coach) Andy (Reid) reported earlier, had a wrist dislocation in one of the live practices that we had. He saw (head team physician) Dr. DeLuca, and he saw Dr. Taras down in Philadelphia this morning. Dr. Taras operated on him. He had two screws put into his wrist to make sure the dislocation was stable. He had the ligaments around the bone that was dislocated, repaired. He's getting out of the hospital this afternoon. He'll be back up here at training camp on Thursday I think – one of those days, they all run together, but he'll be back up here. Right now, as far as the prognosis and I think that's what everyone wants to know, he's going to miss the rest of training camp and then we'll go from there. It's one of those things; we have to keep monitoring him with the hand specialist and see where it goes from there.

As far as (LB/DE) Chris Clemons goes, there's a lot of rumors and whatnot out there about the situation. Here's basically what happened, Chris had a sort of dehydration and probably a little bit of heat illness. It was so hot this morning and he ran out of fluids. We went through our protocol, we took him inside, got his body temperature cooled down through our cooling vest and hats and stuff that we do with all of our players that overheat, we got an IV started on him. He wasn't as responsive as we liked, he wasn't unconscious as it was reported, he was conscious through the whole thing. He just wasn't responding to our questions the way we liked. And in those situations, my staff, we err on the side of caution. We get those guys to a place where they have advanced life support in case anything would go wrong. I don't think at any time we felt like his life was in danger as it was reported, anything like that. We just felt like it would be a better situation to put him in an ambulance and send him over to Lehigh Valley Hospital where they could actually have all his vitals monitored around the clock and get IV fluids in him. But, he was very stable when we put him in the ambulance, he was coming around, he was responsive. The other thing that we weren't sure about at the time, because he wasn't responding, was did he get hit in the head at some point during the practice? That's all been cleared too. So, he's at Lehigh Valley Hospital still, he's not been released from the hospital yet, he probably will be tonight. He's very stable. He's got his electrolytes and all his blood work is back to normal. They've done a CT scan on his head and checked him out for a concussion which was not the fact. It looks like he didn't have any concussion episode and he'll probably be back over here at training camp tonight and then we'll see when he practices again. But, it was a pretty normal dehydration event that just didn't go just quite the way we wanted it to, and I'm always going to err on the side of caution."

On whether guys can drink a lot of water and still dehydrate: "Sure. Everybody's different. I have a team of people in this training camp that are athletic trainers that do nothing but dehydration research. We study these guys, we draw blood on them, we collect urine, we collect sweat, we try and match up drinks with their body type and how they give off electrolytes and all kinds stuff. And you know Chris is a new player to us, so we're not matched up with him yet. Then on top of that we had three or four defensive linemen out this morning at the last minute, and so the numbers game got to him and it caught up to him. He's not one of the guys that we had one of the little sensors in that we talk about. We had it in two defensive linemen this morning, both their body temperatures went up higher than what we're used to. That's because they had to take so many reps this morning. Chris will be in that group now."

On how difficult training camp is for the players that haven't been here before: "As far as the players go, I think there is an adjustment period for new players to our system, whether they are rookies or whether they are veteran guys that we got in free agency. It's a little different here, and in the end we all work towards making it a good environment for the player. We have a bunch of new players on this roster, it's hard to get everybody's electrolytes figured out, everybody's fluids figured out within a three or four day period. Now we try and do some of it in minicamps and whatnot, Chris's situation is just one that caught up to us. I don't think it makes these guys any weaker, I think this is a tough tough thing that we do here and we try and be very proactive with it, and sometimes we come up short. Today we came up short but we'll bounce back with him. I'm going to make sure it doesn't happen again with him."

On whether he will monitor Clemons most closely now: "What we'll do is we'll make sure that he'll have one of those internal thermometers put in him every day. We'll have a heat sensor in him so that we know when his body temperature goes over the point where he could get into danger. The other thing is, we now have an electrolyte panel on some of the blood testing that we have on him and we'll continue to do that inside now. We'll try to match up how much fluid he needs, how much salt he needs, how much potassium he needs, how much magnesium, calcium, chloride, all that and we'll try to match that up with Chris so he can go a little bit longer. Plus I'll certainly be closer to his group now over the next couple of days when he returns. I don't know what day he'll return to practice, but he's one that I'm trying to figure out."

On how he will know when Clemons is ready to practice again: "We'll keep looking at his blood and urine levels to see when he's super-hydrated and when he's had a period of time when he's not symptomatic."

On whether Clemons has had a past medical history at all: "Not a big past history. He's had some cramps in the past but nothing big."

On whether there is a body temperature that is considered dangerous: "That's a great question because all of our studies say you have to look at individual players body temperatures. I've had guys in this camp go to 106 (degrees) and not get in trouble, but I've had guys that go to 101 (degrees) and get in trouble. That's why we do what we do, and that's why I have a whole research team that follows those guys around."

On whether Abiamiri's injury will lead to him being placed on the Injured Reserve list: "No, I'm not reasonably sure of that. I think we need to take it after training camp and see where it's at. The wrist is a thing that we are not sure. It's almost like the foot, we talk about these feet, you have to go by how they are feeling, you have to look at how the bones stay stabilized and all that. So, we're going to cut into some of the season possibly, especially because he can't go here. Then you start talking at what point do you keep him alive on the roster and that's how (General Manager) Tom (Heckert) and Andy will look at it. They'll get feedback from my doctors and myself and we'll go from there. I'm not ready to say that it's a season ending injury, but I'm not ready to say that he's going to be ready for the opener either."

On whether the ligament is the tricky part of this injury: "It's just got to heal. The ligaments and the bones have to stay stable."

On whether the nature of his position will impact how they bring him back: "I think that every guy that's hurt in this camp, we take into consideration what position they play. Certainly a guy who plays offensive line and has a little bit of a hamstring spasm can play a lot earlier than a wideout who has hamstring spasms. So Victor has his hand on the ground and then his first move is to put his hand in somebody's chest. It makes it awful tough with that injury, whereas maybe if you're a defensive back or something we can cast you up and all you have to do is knock the football down. So we consider all that when we do it."

On whether he talks to trainers with other teams in the league and if there is information shared around the league: "I think the 31 other guys that do my job, we try to cooperate with each other and we're not in a competitive situation where we are hiding things from each other. First and foremost, none of us want any of our players to have a bad episode on NFL time, so we do share that stuff. Now, what their information is and what our information is may be different things. You have to take into consideration who the coaches are at other places and how they stagger their practices and how many times they're in pads and all that. Some of that information helps but a little bit of it is a puzzle for us to put together. I enjoy that part of my job because we are doing prevention, and like I said, we just didn't get it done with him today."

On general hamstring injuries: "I'm not going to address hamstring injuries right now. We're on Chris Clemons and Victor."

On what the protocol is for this wrist injury: "We'll get into that later, but basically right now we are going to let the wrist heal and he's going to sling it. We're going to do some modalities inside that, help the healing process and then we'll start moving him. He'll start getting his range of motion whenever the doctor says it's okay and then we'll go from there."

On where Abiamiri had his surgery this morning: "He had surgery at --- I'm 99 percent positive but I didn't write this down, I think he had it at Hahnemann Hospital. Dr. Taras operates in a couple of different places; I think he operated at Hahnemann this morning. I'm 99 percent sure he was at Hahnemann this morning and I'll let (Director of Football Media Services) Derek (Boyko) know."

On what made him concerned enough to call the ambulance: "It's a good question. This is not my ego, but I have a feel and I've been in the league 15 years and you know when you look at a player, he doesn't look back at you and can't answer your questions, that it's not normal. These guys communicate very well with me because I have to take care of them. When they don't communicate you know that there's something up. Here's a guy that I know he's in trouble and he can't answer my questions, that's when you don't worry about blood pressure, you don't worry about any of that. At that point you say let's go, we're going. Basically this morning I had a feel that it was time for him to go. I have physicians on staff here; I had a physician with him the whole time. He was running an IV on him, and chances are he could have come around with the IV and we would have been alright inside. If he didn't do that, I don't have the advanced life support that those guys have at Lehigh Valley Hospital. That's why they have paramedics around, that's why they have a class one emergency room to go to and all that, and it's better for the player and better for us."

On the last time they called an ambulance for a player: "Last year. I don't think we addressed it. It was just one of our players here. Everybody was gone after a morning practice; everybody was gone when it happened. It's just that this year you guys saw the ambulance pull up because we did it right here because he was in that back hallway."

On whether he called the hospital today: "We called 911 and we tell them that we are the Philadelphia Eagles and they're like everyone else, they show up (jokingly)."

On whether Clemons' condition happened quickly: "I think that with any of the heat/dehydration stuff, usually they cramp first and then at the first sign of cramping we send them in. A guy will pull up and we'll put him on a cart and take him in. I'm not in the business of messing around trying to force a guy to finish. In Chris's case he came over and just dropped to one knee. He never cramped or anything like that. He just dropped to one knee and he just didn't look right, I said get him in and start an IV, and when I got inside with him he just still wasn't responding to my questions and that's when I said call 911 and we'll get him out of here."

On who was in the ambulance with Clemons: "(Assistant Athletic Trainer) Chris Peduzzi went with him."

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