WEEI>On Demand>>Dr. William Meehan on Patrice Bergeron's latest concussion

Dr. William Meehan on Patrice Bergeron's latest concussion

Apr 4, 2013|

Dr. William Meehan, concussion specialist at Children's Hospital, discussed how there is no such thing as a "moderate" concussion. The grade of a concussion can only be determined by the time required for the symptoms to subside. Dr. Meehan added that the fact that Patrice Bergeron has had rapid returns from concussions in the past may be a good sign for him now.

Transcript - will not be 100% accurate

Whenever it was going so well for the Boston Bruins at the beginning of the season. And they're winning and winning will. Hop off forcing their will on other teams. We always ask the question how can this go badly does -- good goaltending got a very physical team yeah golf in this go badly they got up the whole thing and the answer is. Injury to a key player. And now they have one. Three Bergeron according to Peter -- up pretty moderate concussion. We'll know exactly what that means some of definition of that and basically where are we going to have all these head injuries. Doctor William -- The third is the director of the Kelli said -- for sports injury prevention is awful also be director of the sports concussion clinic and often Children's Hospital. A book called up kids' sports and concussions a guy for coaches and parents he joins us on the AT&T hotline good morning doctor -- how are -- -- Thank you very much out what is the death additionally moderate concussion how is that how is that measured. You know we don't do those terms so much in medicine anymore people used to trying great concussions initially but it turns out we're airport doing that people ought to have. -- concussions often for a long time to get better until about -- will be used terms like mild moderate or severe. After the act because recovered and we know how long it takes what sort of attractive offer. So what's defined by the recovery time essentially. When researchers begin to realize the cumulative effect of of of -- multiple concussions and why -- subsequent. Concussions seem to occur more easily doctor. You know it looked like everything in Madison someone realized that first put the rest of the community sort of the problem beleaguered north but there were early studies. Even in the 1970s. That suggest there was a cumulative effects from concussion. But really only -- people started describing. Chronic traumatic encephalopathy in athletes in the earlier part of this century that has brought the community started paying attention. We don't know why it has some athletes seem to get concussions more more you can leave their career coach Bob it certainly doesn't happen whatever -- -- -- out there that maybe -- changes in the brain that occur at the time of the initial underdeveloped little short. And oh -- he's not -- patient patient you probably not comfortable giving a prognosis or diagnosis of a guy like Bergeron but what do you think when you hear a player like Patrice Bergeron. Suffered his fourth concussion what is your initial reaction. Well it's unfortunate but we look at a lot of things besides the overall number. Number one week we -- look at that you should just an opportunity to be happening more easily and if so that's concerning the real look at the recovery time and country for drugs first. And cautioned that took a very long time to recover from -- force -- -- -- -- -- them -- but recovered track that it would prefer the night. Recollect my memory there -- are -- to recover from past into the second the correct. There's some -- sort of reassuring -- And in addition to that concern about. Are you comfortable with the way say the NHL the Bruins. Handled these injuries now I know 01020. Years ago a generation ago. We did it all wrong everybody every level pop from pop Warner of the pros to the NHL. You know didn't give enough recovery time didn't treat these seriously enough how about now and doctor novelist specifically the NHL. I think it's much better I think doctors really were at all so that you know people don't believe the evidence that was -- longer time goes to realize that it is valid evidence that it should have. I would I would just playing the -- I do to get much better now and I raised a little respect and it's gonna have a lot -- you know what they outlawed it sort of tighten the restrictions on -- for the heads -- -- that the new -- not even. -- feel like I'm an impact has been like that. You go out criticism people and you're gonna change the game and I quite frankly admire his response to put -- a video online -- high powered checks -- fair with the movement still allowed at least one bar that he gave people examples like as I was more than a lot of elderly. Doctor it's seems to me it may be just my imagination that we're seeing a lot more concussions then we used to is that just because we're more aware of them and point them out in the old days it was just all I got my bell -- get back out there. There's two reasons one is a pretty -- people paid attention finally entry years we ignored it. But also to implement changes the game even over the course smile like I'm I'm relatively young guy. But when I was growing up guys and Wear helmets fire and -- are you that we introduced some of you know within three years of making them mandatory. The rate of high sticking penalty tripled right. All the other guys are going to be ultra boarding were they there you go away near the Border Patrol guy at first then nobody ever did that limit -- -- -- -- -- bigger guy. I used to think it drug -- people play more aggressive at the other guys Wear -- could be that -- protect them. I would helmets reduce. The risk of catastrophic brain injury but not concussions can -- due to. Spinning of the brain and so while you're protecting the brain trauma potentially much worse injuries. You are suggesting it's more more blows -- higher rate of acceleration -- -- adequate to talk to decorate the also called up. How many kids do you see doctor. We you'd tell. Don't play anymore given up not worth it. It's rare usually we discuss the risks. And called them actually makes the decisions. A result often don't -- -- and coaches and everything else. I think will be. Three or 4000 children care for over the last several years should potential but don't athlete you guys -- -- -- -- There have been maybe three that really wanted to -- back and I actually look at that -- But couldn't sleep at night it's a clear to go back. I -- probably seek a second opinion and all of -- a lot and I'll certainly mostly got back. Doctor would you describe what happens when an athlete is can -- physically literally what happens to the -- So the brain and can fit them but millions and millions of brain cells and neurons. And the way those neurons work and they conduct very small electrical current -- elect spoke on the electrical current starts at one end. Go look the other end when it reaches the other had a chemical accretive -- chemicals because of the brain work. And at the time a book a concussion when you've been the brain very rapidly. The channel. -- conduct an electrical current open. Not an alleged organized fashion and the brain cells that are meant to do something but it randomly throughout the brain all along -- Portugal felt. And so electrical current start firing all over the place and until you can stop them from firing and prepare the fire again at a proper way. The brained -- right there affect their memory. Often causes headaches this decrease is reaction time and it increases the length of time it takes -- -- -- And is there anything that can be done to. Accelerate the recovery process more than just a matter of dark rooms quiet no activity and certainly not in all damaging brain and bruising the brain anymore. Exactly so -- -- other Internet push work. By not using the brain and not using your body you're actually conserve energy you can serve eight CPU which with the energy molecule that. Hope you bank but also hopes to rob looks great it's about avoiding those things you're saying all the ATP and your body to help in the recovery process. Right now can be directly treated -- we can't we -- the club the simple but the -- repeal federal makes them to a brother home. We are doing commerce search your and I that you think there will be a direct tree in the near future -- Shall some effect available there's been -- back in. The war veterans should stay in traumatic brain and Google in Iraq after it. Are you comfortable with the year with all the leagues in all the sports right now they all up to speed and all taken this seriously enough. And electric good or better than they were I don't think probably about picking all the script because they're more than that. The places where they got through our direct access athletic trainers -- -- progression been helped care professional. Get treated fairly well most of them get measurements of the brain function before it even been measurement of their balance before the -- event. The trainers and doctors know what sort of symptoms they suffer from more -- and other. Medical conditions. But when you get younger and younger -- move in high school and certainly you broke a pop Warner had a few weeks or might add delete which federal. There is no athletic trainer. Or will she positioned -- encryption at the baseline data that you need to minister -- properly and I think are higher risk of at least they get into it have to be more conservative. Doctor -- -- -- a question for me what is the nature of the baseline testing when these athletes go to baseline testing is just cognitive recognition things -- what's the nature of those tests. Yeah there's several of them and they vary depending -- -- athletic trainer achieved initial public source on the baseline medical conditions symptoms you know just totally healthy but every now valued counselor has. Migraine headaches -- has -- are there are other things to consult a big computer can custom renewed military baseline symptoms are. The fact of the new balance. That you saw out. Country try to give copyright and ballots can be effective by concussion. While Patrick how incredible but I also lets you measure it you're not gonna know what it is and so when they get a concussion -- -- to work. I might have felt too good of you were maybe even when they're injured and -- how you want to know exactly how could develop this measure is a well some measure recovery. And then finally there's -- -- cognitive -- and dementia than. But added that the measure of reaction time as a measure of memory and it's a measure of what we call processing speed or the amount of time that create the the brain. To process information that and all the call and that takes about. -- minutes before to benefit could do it on a computer that can be an actual Laura psychology to -- -- -- little longer than that. And you can repeated after injury and a total over the -- the upper entry then you can watch her recover back to almost another measure. Based so what does -- mentally just you're observational what happened -- -- the other night but your -- be about how it turned to his recovery time. You know you can't really make an educated if you look at history previous concussion but I think absorb -- -- itself. Of the best way to do it is to recoup all or all simple after injuries from -- and felt -- though you know that after the first log. I've called the little General Electric -- recover. Usually if you felt -- actually Egyptian agriculture cultural. He's doctor bill Meehan director of the McCain -- -- for sports injury prevention Waltham thanks for much for the information doctor very informative we appreciate it. Doctor -- what does that cal -- AT&T hotline AT&T four GL TE is back for exactly right. Each subsequent concussion he recovered more quickly from now does that mean each was less than the original probably does. The -- won -- 2007 he missed the entire season starting October. When in December of 2008 he missed twenty games one inmate to 2011 he missed ten games -- beat him what he will be bought. -- talked about the various hits that he took yes this was the least severe certainly seem to some may be on maybe there's definitely some to the fact that this. That these coming easier you know you give them eat it doesn't take. A vicious you know Matt -- elbowed -- -- head. Now for Patrice Bergeron and maybe not only do you keep -- for as long as it takes what may be -- model little longer. Because you want him to pull it not so important to -- you really don't need them now right you need him in the playoffs playoffs. So whatever do we expect -- before the playoffs have no idea. That's the that's the answer you know I have no idea Romanian -- mean and and and you know I'm -- rally workload. That's the only answer maybe doesn't even like it's like how the wife feel every morning I wake up to what the better than they did yesterday.

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