Dr. Richard Ellenbogen works to prevent concussions in football players

Dr. Richard Ellenbogen works to prevent concussions in football players

Credit: KING

Dr. Richard Ellenbogen works to prevent concussions in football players

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by JEAN ENERSEN / KING 5 News

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KING5.com

Posted on June 20, 2010 at 8:10 PM

Updated Monday, Jun 21 at 3:41 PM

Football players hit, tackle, and smack each other to the ground. And, sometimes an aggressive play can end with a head injury.

"The CDC thinks there are about 3.8 million concussions a year," said Dr. Richard Ellenbogen

This is what Dr. Ellenbogen wants to prevent nationwide.  He already got the state of Washington to pass a law protecting young athletes from concussions. 

Now he wants other states and professional teams to do the same. What he accomplishes by leading the NFL's Head, Neck, And Spine Committee could change how the Seahawks play football.

"You know, that's again about the kids, because yes, there are 2,000 professional players and they're the best there is, but they get concussions, they get traumatic brain injuries when they play it, unfortunately, not all the time but some of the time. And if we do it right with them and take them out of the game and they do it right and the kids will do it right," he said.

Jean: But football is a contact sport and if you have two NFL players coming together like that for sure there are going to be concussions. So are you saying you are trying to prevent them with equipment, changes in techniques?

Dr. Ellenbogen: Those are great questions, all those things. So there are going to be rule changes and there have been rule changes and the NFL has come a long way from two or three decades ago. They have been much more aggressive about getting player to report their concussions and get them out of the game and rest them until they are better.

Jean: If you could forecast the outcome of this committee now, what would you like to see for kids?

Dr. Ellenbogen: The beauty of the NFL thing is the NFL has pull, they've got the support to be able to do this right and want to do it right and that will trickle down to the youth sports. When in doubt, we sit them out. So I think that's going to be huge.  If we even make it a small percentage safer, I'll have a lot more happy moms and dads, a lot more kids who will go further in life. 

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