KMSB "Fox-11 Forum," Sunday, 8/14/11, 7:30 AM

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By Bryce Potter By Bryce Potter

Host Bob Lee interviews Robert P. Goldfarb, MD, chairman, Carondelet Neurological Institute.

A group of 75 former football players recently sued the NFL, accusing the league of intentionally hiding brain-injury risks from athletes for 90 years. The suit claims the league first learned of the risks of concussions in the 1920s but did not alert its employees to them until 2010. Studies also suggest that one in five high school players suffer a concussion or more serious brain injury during their brief career.  

Goldfarb says a concussion is the result of a blow to the head, causing the brain to swell. He says symptoms include loss of consciousness, headache, dizziness, and loss of balance. He says concussions usually heal over time.  He says athletes risk suffering more than one concussion during their playing career, and that can lead to more serious and permanent brain damage.  He says the same is true if a player with a concussion remains in a game and suffers a second blow to the head.
Goldfarb says it is important that an athlete, especially a high school athlete, who takes a blow to the head receives immediate testing for a concussion.  He says this includes cognitive tests as well as balance and other physical tests.  He says a new Arizona law makes it mandatory for any high school athlete be tested immediately and if a concussion ultimately is diagnosed, that athlete cannot play sports until the concussion is gone.  He said the law also requires other accommodations, such as reduced study load at school, in order to allow the brain to “rest” and heal properly.