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Concussion protocol is the same for pro athletes and youth athletes

Bills quarterback remains on 'concussion protocol'
Posted at 7:03 PM, Oct 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-02 11:26:20-04

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen remains side-lined. Allen left Sunday’s game against the Patriots with a concussion following a "helmet to helmet" hit from Jonathan Jones. We still don't know when Allen will be back in the lineup as he remains on concussion protocol.

St. Joe's High School football members at practice.

The type of helmet-to-helmet hit Allen endured leaves the player defenseless as he goes down and experts say this is a classic way to suffer a concussion.

The ‘concussion protocol’ Allen is under is the same for pro-athletes as it is for high school athletes. Here’s what needs to happen for Allen to return. He can begin with aerobic exercise. Allen would increase his workout to make sure the symptoms don’t return.

We spoke with concussion expert Dr. Jennifer McVige at Dent Neurological Institute.

McVige treats retired Buffalo Bills football players as well as active and retired members of the Sabres who have all suffered concussions.

“You have to have rest and then you go into light exercise and then slowly graduate yourself up to sports specific exercise. Then red shirting and playing and then going back to contact, but you have to 100-percent recovered and symptom free in order to return,” explained McVige.

The players Dr. Mcvige treats have suffered long-term effects from mood, focus and social issues as well as suicidal issues.

Again, this would also apply for a student-athlete who also suffers a concussion

Nationally the number of high school football players has dropped because of concern of concussion, however, at St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute in the Town of Tonawanda they follow protocols both on and off the field.

St. Joe's High School football members at practice.

Braeleen Carney is St. Joe's athletic trainer from Excelsior Orthopedics. The school follows all the New York State policies to check for concussions.

“All of our coaches – myself our staff members all have to go through the CDC heads up training and then top of my knowledge based on school we kin of make the call on how they are doing - what they look like in terms of getting them evaluated by a doctor,” Carney explained.

St. Joe's athletic director, Brian Anken, said they always work to prevent for helmet to helmet hits.

“You either embrace it and integrate into your programming, like we do and we take it very seriously, all the way from our athletic training staff to our coaches to our players on how we teach them or you try to avoid it and that's not good for anybody,” Anken.

Anken noted they have multi-layers to work on concussion prevention protocols, keeping a close watch to make sure players don’t make helmet to helmet hits on the field.

St. Joe's High School athletic field.

“We’re fortunate here between our coaching staff and having athletic trainers and certainly some interns, and a lot of eyes and bodies on site at all time,” Anken said.

We also spoke with Dr. John Leddy, medical director at the University at Buffalo’s Concussion Management Clinic. He pointed out that helmet to helmet hits are banned in the NFL and come with a 15-yard penalty for violations.

“That type of hit has been deemed illegal now in the NFL,” stated Dr. Leddy.

Dr. Leddy said there has there been at least a 15 to 20-percent drop in participation by youth in high school football in the past several years across the U.S. because of the intensity of concussions on the playing field.