New concussion rules meant to keep athletes safe

September 17, 2013 2:02:20 PM PDT
As many of you saw in Sunday's Texans game, Andre Johnson was pulled out of the game with a concussion.

The team reports that Johnson is recovering very well. But before an NFL player who has a concussion, can return to play, he must follow a new, strict protocol. It includes computerized memory tests and multiple medical exams.

Dr. Ken Podell, a neuroscientist and co-director of Houston Methodist Concussion Center, says the player must also be "seen by the team doctor, seen by a specialist, undergo impact testing, neuropsychological testing, and balance testing. Once he's cleared, he'll start a return to play exercise protocol."

The exercise protocol can last several days. After that, the last step is for the player to be cleared by an independent neurologist. The new rules were put in place to reduce the number of retired professional players who suffer from dementia and other brain disorders.

These new concussion guidelines are also changing college and high school football, making all of them safer for players.

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