No more “Just shake it off” advice. Sports organizations from Pop Warner to the NFL are starting to treat concussions as the serious injuries they are.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — An estimated 300,000 high school athletes suffer concussions on the playing fields annually. The brain is injured, yet it cannot be diagnosed by conventional head imaging. After years of treating concussions like just another injury, sports leagues and associations as well as governments are starting to pay much more specific attention to the dangers and long-term effects of brain injuries on the field. Two clinical professors at Brown are experts in many aspects of the issue, ranging from policy to diagnosis on the sidelines.

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Elizabeth S. Jacobs, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Pediatric Emergency Medicine
Emergency Physician, Hasbro Children’s Hospital
Director, Sports Concussion Program, Rhode Island Hospital

Elizabeth Jacobs was instrumental in passing legislation in Rhode Island that removes all athletes from play or practice if they have sustained a head injury and mandates medical clearance for return-to-play decisions. The period after a concussion is a vulnerable period for the healing brain, she notes. If the player stresses the brain too soon, or even worse reinjures the brain, there are potentially devastating consequences including long-term neurocognitive delays and potentially fatal second impact syndrome.

Jacobs also co-founded the Rhode Island Concussion Management Consortium, a multidisciplinary group which uses evidence-based best practices including baseline and post-injury computerized neuropsychological testing to guide the care of head-injured athletes.

Razib Khaund, M.D.
Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine
Physician, University Orthopedics

Razib Khaund can be found every fall and winter on the sidelines of high school football games and near the bench of local hockey games. He is on the lookout for injuries — concussions in particular. Consequently he has built an expertise in such frontline questions such as How can one tell when a player has a concussion? How does one assess the severity on the sideline or the bench? What goes into the decision about when players should return? How many concussions are too many? Khaund is a member of the practice at University Orthopedics as a specialist in primary-care sports medicine. Khaund has received numerous awards recognizing his practice of sports medicine. He is a member of the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine.