It’s one thing when a state law or a policy that comes down from above says that resting is the best treatment for concussion. But it’s another when a star player like Kobe Bryant has something to say about it.
Commenting in the LA Times and re-quoted on Slamonline.com, Bryant said of his teammate, Paul Gasol who missed five games due to a concussion:
“I was a little angry with him the other day because he’s coming to practice and coming to the games,’ Bryant said. ‘Stay home. Cut all the lights off. Just rest. Let your brain rest. But he wants to be around [the team]. That’s the type of teammate he is.”
What Bryant is recognizing is that healing from a concussion requires athletes, especially at the NBA level to do something that often runs counter to who they are. That’s to withdraw from the limelight, the locker room, the home territory with the friends and teammates and be quiet and REST.
According to the basketball blog site TrueHoops, the NBA has gotten serious about concussion management. Even though the degree and frequency of hits may not be what we see in the NFL, they are implementing a multistep protocol to keep players safe in the short and, maybe most importantly, the long run. Under the guidance of Dr Jeffrey Kutcher, the program is taking hold. Kutcher is quoted on Slamonline as saying: “the policies need to reflect the fact that it’s a team effort to diagnose concussions and look out for injuries, because the injured athletes oftentimes don’t know they're injured.”
It does seem surprising that we have very little to offer injured players other than vigilance—no medication, no shots (meaning vaccinations), no therapy of any kind. But as Bryant says: ‘It just takes time. There’s nothing you can do really to expedite it. It’s not a muscle. You can’t massage it. There’s nothing you can do. You just rest.’”
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