Experts tackle issue of concussions during live web chat

By Rachel McNeill - Anchor

HOUSTON - The NFL is buzzing this week after several players were sidelined due to concussions.

Even players and team physicians are at odds over whether independent neurologists need to be added to the sidelines to keep an eye on the game.

The discussion is reaching far beyond pro athletes.

KPRC Local 2 was a proud media sponsor of the Memorial Hermann Hospital "Tackling Concussions Head On" live interactive video chat on Wednesday.

I served as moderator for the chat during which a panel of specialists, trainers, parents and even a student who suffered a concussion answered online and Twitter questions from viewers.

Katie Wood has played soccer since she was 3. Her dad, Michael, coached her brother and sister as well.

Three kids, six concussions.

Wood told Local 2, "The first concussion took about a week to recover. The second was about two weeks. The third one was a month, so they were getting longer. The fourth took me almost the whole summer to get over."

Her senior year, Wood made the difficult decision to quit the sport she loved.

She explained, "The risk of continuing playing soccer, the risk of getting another concussion, it was just too high."

It's not just soccer and football, but doctors said any impact sport, such as cheerleading, lacrosse and basketball, can pose a risk.

Michael Wood urged parents to know the symptoms.

He said, "Make sure that they're watching the kids play and listen to them. If they come off the field saying, 'I have a headache,' or, 'Really got hit in the head. Did you see that, Dad?'"

Neuropsychologist Dr. Summer Ott said symptoms can extend beyond headaches and dizziness to cognitive problems as well.

She explained, "They may have problems remembering what they're reading, maybe processing information quickly, being able to do things and multi task. If you have a suspicion, bother them. Bug them. Ask them over and over because kids may not feel comfortable saying what's going on when they're removed from play. But you've got to protect the one hard drive that they'll have for the rest of their life."

If you're concerned, you can get a baseline test done by a physician who specializes in concussions.

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