While watching the Super Bowl on Sunday night, the announcers told us that one player was being helped to the sidelines and then to the locker room because of “concussion-like symptoms”. Then, they showed the replay of a helmet-to-helmet hit that showed the players head being struck.
Currently the NFL has a concussion spotter and doctors and neuro-consultants on the sideline who ask initial basic questions of a player suspected of a concussion such as: What quarter is it? Who scored last? Do you have a headache, Dizziness or Nausea? What month is it? What day of the week is it?
The doctor on the sideline might ask certain word recall that could include the player repeating back the following words: apple, elbow, carpet, saddle and bubble.
These are just some of the NFL protocols in dealing with a player suspected of a concussion. Conversely, in my law practice I have seen just the opposite. Emergency technicians ask my client at the scene whether they were knocked unconscious. That is the extent of the screening. Relying on the worst historian of the possible medical condition… the person who is dealing with the symptoms.
In football, there’s some hope that there is new technology on the horizon to help identify concussions during the game. According to Fortune Magazine, Helmet-manufacture Riddell has produced a helmet called a SpeedFlex helmet, which relies on an InSite Impact Response System”
It’s being tested at some Division-1 programs like Arkansas. Among other features, the helmet disperses energy at the point of impact to minimize damage and can send a signal through state-of-the-art software, to personnel on the sideline regarding certain hits and impacts. if an impact falls beyond a certain safe range that has been predetermined, the helmet alerts coaches wirelessly through the helmet’s software.
Attention to this problem has brought research and progress; and more importantly awareness to the issue of concussions. As a lawyer, I am glad that football has now helped to bring some education to juries regarding symptoms of concussion and the severity of a concussion that might occur in car crashes.
In the past, I had to listen to one defense doctor describe a concussion as no big deal because it was just getting your bell rung. Thankfully, I don’t think that such testimony will even be considered by a jury.
And for pic o’ day, I am posting a cartoon. The opposite of bulls running must be bulls telling jokes!