Reporting Dr. Brian McDonough
by KYW’s medical editor Dr. Brian McDonough
The concussions suffered by Stewart Bradley and Kevin Kolb have brought the subject front and center, but we have talked about it before: the NFL has a problem.
Essentially their sport is based on collisions — high impact collisions. Concussions are caused by high impact collisions. Not only that, but the science of concussions is relatively new, and the more layers we peel off of the onion the more it seems that short and long term damage can occur.
However, there is research being done and, according to the New England Journal of Medicine, there may be additional testing that could help.
Data from helmet concussion monitors that are used on soldiers and football players can aid in predicting the character and location of lesions from an impact of a given force at given coordinates. This could give us real data to try and make assessments.
But the larger problem is that the NFL has always worked with the philosophy get the players back as soon as it is safe. The newest research in concussion recovery suggests keeping players out as long as possible to minimize damage.
You can see both sides of the argument, but the problem is damage to the brain can be subtle and it can take decades to appear.