I have been in family medicine for the past twenty years. I have a keen interest in sports medicine prior to becoming a doctor having received my Master’s Degree in Education under the area of exercise science. I have seen countless numbers of patients over the years come through my office with concussions and have worked with them using the standard treatment protocols. Unfortunately, these recommendations only deal with the timing of when to get the athlete back into competition. There really has been no treatment at all. This has always frustrated me.
Personally, I have suffered three major concussions in my own life that I can remember: once in pee wee football, once falling off a bike as a teen, and once getting knocked down (and almost out) during my college boxing career. None of these were really recognized or treated. I do not know whether my chronic headaches are related to these concussions, but I am sure they didn’t help. Concussions have affected my family as well. My middle son had a major concussion in high school, which cost him to lose his full football season due to it. I saw how it affected his schoolwork and personality. He also received no treatment other than rest. The lack of any treatment has bothered me for years until I had an epiphany about it. We use ice for every other injured part of the body so why not the head? That is when I started to dig through the research and found an abundance of studies showing beneficial effects to icing the head after a traumatic brain injury. Unfortunately, no one had created an easy way to do this on the sidelines….until now.
I consider myself as an innovator and inventor and have had some success with different projects in the past. In fact, I invented the Knee Saver for baseball catchers, which continues to be part of the equipment used by many players today. When I came up with the idea of creating a portable device to ice a concussed athlete’s head, the first company I sought out to help me with it was All-Star Sports. Over the past year and a half we have worked through most, if not all, of the kinks to bring “therapeutic hypothermia” to the field (and to the athletes) in an efficient and effective manner. I believe we have succeeded in this goal with the CryoHelmet.
I understand that icing the head with such a device as the CryoHelmet is only part of the answer and not a cure for concussions. Research and innovation needs to continue in order to prevent these injuries in the first place. That being said, more attention also needs to be focused on treatment, which may include nutrition, behavioral modifications, supplements and ice. Our goal is to see that therapeutic hypothermia becomes part of the protocol that I and other doctors can use and recommend in our medical offices when treating concussions.
BONUS STORY – WHY ARE BOXING WEIGH-INs THE DAY BEFORE THE FIGHT WHEN THEY WERE ALWAYS THE DAY OF THE FIGHT IN THE PAST?