Greg Collins, assistant athletic director of sports medicine and head athletic trainer at Wake Forest University, didn’t pull any punches in a recent interview that appeared in the Old Gold & Black, the student newspaper.
First up was the NFL Players’ Association’s proposal to add independent “neurology specialists” on the sidelines during games for concussion issues.
“Independent neurologists on the sidelines are not fruitful, they are actually a huge problem,” Collins said. “The team physicians have developed relationships with athletes so they would see the little behavior changes that are often the first signs of concussions. You can’t see the evidence if he’s not your athlete.” He added that trainers are better able to monitor players closely, especially the ones with a history of concussions.
He also talked about the school’s return-to-play policy of not allowing a concussed player to return to the team for at least a week.
“That is extremely controversial with other schools’ programs. Other teams use other reasons for a player’s injury, like ‘Oh, he just hurt his neck, he’s fine.’ It’s the same in the NFL. It places the athletes and the team at risk.”
He also addressed the question of how many concussions is too many?
“Six or seven minor concussions? No one knows what the magic number is. It may not affect you now but it will at 50 when you’re done playing.”