Are concussion protocols enough? Doctor and former football player weigh in

BOWLING GREEN, Ky.- After NFL quarterback Tua Tagovailoa made headlines for his scary concussion seen by millions around the country, there’s discussions about if society is doing enough to protect athletes. 

“You could have all the protocols in the world, but whether they’re followed or not it really has to be something where the player isn’t even given a choice,” said Jared Holland. 

Holland is a former tight end for Western Kentucky University football, playing from 2004-2007. He recalls times in high school and college where he suffered concussions. 

“At that time a lot of them were undiagnosed, there were a variety of times throughout my career where I probably did have a concussion, I had headaches, falling over during practice so it’s hard to know how many I had,” said Holland. 

Holland said since he’s played, a lot has been done to improve safety for players, including targeting calls, limited contact in practices and upgraded equipment. 

“We’ve gotten a lot smarter in society as coaches and physicians to limit the likelihood of concussions occurring,” said Holland. 

What exactly is a concussion?

“A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that’s typically caused by forcible contact to the neck or head and the brain moves within the skull and is impacted,” said Vice President of Med Center Physical Rehabilitation Jase Pinerola, DPT.

And what should people be looking out for?

“Headache, it could lead to loss of consciousness, problems with vision, confusion, memory,” said Pinerola. 

Holland says that concussions will continue to happen in contact sports. We just need to be smart about them.

“It’s just a matter of how do you respond to concussions when they happen and how do you prevent them from becoming an ongoing issue because the truth is at the end of the day, the more concussions you have the more likely you are to have CTE and long term effects and that’s where it gets really serious,” said Holland.