Philadelphia Eagles have comprehensive approach to concussions

Philadelphia Daily News columnist Rich Hofman today examines the comprehensive concussion program developed by the Philadelphia Eagles and their longtime trainer Rick Burkholder (left).

Burkholder employs “a unique, structured approach to figuring out when it is safe for a player to return,” Hofman writes.  “The baseline neurological testing that has been done on athletes for about 15 years is just the start for Burkholder. He has come up with five phases of testing, all of which must be passed by the player before he can return.”

Burkholder further explains: “What we’ve done is put very specific guidelines in on ourselves, to make sure that we’re making the best decision possible. It’s not an exact science and [players] all know that …but this program takes a lot of the gray area out of it for me. I put them through really big challenges before they have to hit somebody, to see if they can handle it. I feel more confident putting a player back in than I did before.”

“If you sprain your brain, what sense does it make to have you go in there and work and watch film and concentrate?” asks Burkholder, who is in his 12th season with the Eagles after six years with the Pittsburgh Steelers. “I’ve totally changed my approach, and Andy [Reid]’s been great about it. He understands.”

“When it comes to concussions, I’ve probably learned the most in the last 3 years,” Burkholder adds. “There’s so much out there now to study and change. I’ve totally changed my program here, totally changed it.”

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