Healthwatch: Sports Head Injuries

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Richard Weiland is a high school football player, but he's sticking with just shooting hoops for the time being. He received a blow to the head during a game and suffered a concussion.

"I really was kind of confused I guess but I kept playing and that's where my downfall basically came, said Weiland.

A straight-A student, Richard now has headaches and other problems in school.

In a concussion, the brain is jostled within the skull, causing trauma.

Micky Collins, who treats athletes for sports injuries, said the consequences of playing with a concussion could be much worse..

"The worst that can happen is second impact syndrome, when you have two concussions in relatively short duration, and that can cause death in an athlete," said Collins.

To prevent this, the athlete must fully recover from the first injury before returning to play. Collins and his colleagues developed a system called "IMPACT" which tests the athlete's brain function before the season starts and after players have been injured.

"It's essentially a twenty-question battery of computerized tests that measures different aspects of brain function that are affected by concussion, Collins said.

When Richard took his post-concussion test, he was surprised.

"I thought I'd do okay and I thought I would be fine but that was proved wrong because I did pretty bad," said Weiland.

Although Richard's scores are improving and he's anxious to play football again, Collins said waiting is clearly the right call.