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From High-Tech Helmets to Revolutionary Procedures, Concussion Medicine Marches On

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NORTH TEXAS -- From lawsuits to Will Smith movies, the football world has been buzzing about concussions.

That's why Liberty Christian School in Argyle is taking a proactive approach to detecting head injuries among their players.

They've been using helmet inserts that detect the G-force of impacts in games and practices, and keep coaches and trainers aware of potential injury issues.

The devices help keep players from hiding their symptoms and going without treatment.

Liberty's team doctor Chad Stephens is a sports and pain medicine doctor who's on the cutting edge of concussion research.

"We're starting to treat it more aggressively," said Dr. Stephens.  "What I mean by that is getting people back to their life faster."

He says the new method is to treat concussions like impact-induced migraines, with a procedure called a "sphenopalatine ganglion block."  Basically, it involves placing numbing medication in just the right spot, by going up the patient's nose.

"It drops the medicine right on top of the nerve complex that is involved in a migraine, called the sphenopalatine ganglion," Dr. Stephens said. "So it's really revolutionary, but it's really simple.  But when we do these treatments for post-concussion patients, they pretty much immediately have a lot of headache resolution, if not complete, and their dizziness resolves pretty quickly, and they just feel more like themselves."

Dr. Stephens believes this combination of instant detection and fast, effective treatment will help turn football's concussion conversation on its head.

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