Concussion concerns raised as fall sports begin

Sep 3, 2013

As the fall sports season begins, discussion is once again building over the treatment of concussions.

Concussions can only be found by inference and diagnosis since only an experimental brain scan can spot them. It may be years before those tests are widely available.

Instead, concussions are most often spotted by well-trained coaches who hold players out of games. After that, a doctor needs to be consulted.

John Leddy, medical director of UB's Concussion Management Clinic, says its important to observe a variety of conditions.

John J. Leddy, Director of the UB Concussion Management Clinic
Credit Photo from UB Website

"Walking a straight line heel to toe or balance on one foot. Ask specific questions about what was the last play you ran, what was the score, who did we play last week? If they can't remember those things or their balance is off or their vision is subtly off, then that's much more likely to be a concussion," Leddy says.

Leddy says the concussion debate gets more complicated as the stakes increase. Young players seeking college scholarships may try to hide their concussion histories.

"Is continuing participation in contact sports really worth it? Because we're starting to realize that repetitive concussions are not good for long-term brain health," says Leddy

Research continues into other concussion-related oddities. For example, Leddy says i i's unclear why a higher percentage of women soccer players have concussions than male players.