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Concussion spotters may be required at all Erie County sporting events

WBFO News File Photo

Erie County is looking at plans to require every athletic event to have someone on hand who is trained in concussion protocol.

Concussions are increasingly a part of the sports scene because of increasing recognition of effects on the brain for a player who suffers one. In professional sports, many players have retired from the cumulative effects of concussions.

While it is routine in scholastic sports to have someone at a game who has been trained in the signs of concussions, it's not always the case in other sporting events. Legislature Majority Leader Joseph Lorigo says there should be.
"It's going to require that anybody that's involved in youth sports where there are collisions be versed in concussion protocol and require them to maintain that certification on a biannual basis," Lorigo said.

The measure stalled for a few weeks until Lorigo and Legislator Patrick Burke, who both have young children, worked out an agreement to ensure there were free sources for the training.

The measure is backed by UB's Dr. John Leddy, a national expert on concussions and medical director of the university's Concussion Management Clinic.

"It's important that somebody who can observe the kids for any potential signs of concussion, like they are not acting right or they're off balance after being hit, for someone to recognize some of the symptoms of concussion, such as they come off saying they are dizzy or they can't remember the last play," Leddy said.

Leddy says it's not unusual for some player to arrive at his clinic with serious problems because that player was allowed to stay in a game after suffering a concussion without being observed and then suffering another in the same game.


Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.