An Open Letter and Answers to America’s Parents Speaking the Full Truth about the Future of Football, Traumatic Brain Injury and Concussions
After leaving the NFL because of repeated concussions, Fred Willis has found a new sense of purpose.
The highlights were plentiful during Fred Willis’ football career. “At my age, there are some tough moments, to be honest with you,” Willis says. “It scares me to death to think about waking up some day and not being able to recognize my dogs and family.”
Concerned about the problems in his head, at times dark, desperate thoughts. He was done with football — had been for years — but scared that football wasn’t done with him
“Football isn’t NASCAR. It’s demolition derby. The collisions aren’t accidents. Head trauma is baked into the game, estimates are that the average high school football player absorbs 1,000 blows to the head per season.
“No brain trauma is good brain trauma,” “Parents are fearful about the effects (Symptoms) concussions have on their children, but HPN Concussion Management’s 10 Step Approach to Brain Recovery and the Treatment of Concussion through extensive baseline testing and treatment.
Through the 10 Steps of HPN Concussion Management you can stop or reduce concussions by taking the child’s 10 step baseline results and we archive, store and maintain secure their protected health information in our all-important documents retrieval system.
Storing them in our vault In the event the “next concussion” happens—this gives the parents hard information and options to eliminate it, short of stopping it completely — it’s the only thing available to them!
“For the last fifty years parents, doctors and coaches have searched for answers to concussions by sending their kids to the emergency hospital rooms and sadly have taken that for granted. “This is not the answer Willis’ says”. ”QEEG Brain Mapping is the most sensitive neuroimaging tool for the assessment of post-concussion syndrome “The results are stunning”
The parents need realistic information about their child’s cognitive defects and preserved abilities to avoid false optimism leading to frustrating and exhaustive educational plans. Unfortunately, head injuries are very common with children, accounting for approximately one hundred thousand hospitalizations annually.
But Willis has also found a renewed sense of purpose, embarking on a career as Founder, President & CEO of HPN Neurologic and HPN Concussion Management, a motivational speaker, as well as treating and working with retired NFL players showing the symptoms of Post-Concussion Syndrome, TBI/CTE through his NFL Retired Players Clinical Trials around the country, he has raised awareness of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in general.
“Brain Risk Seen in Early-Age Football”
Researchers reported finding increased evidence of a “critical window’’ of brain development for children between 10 and 12.
Football Won’t Be the Same After Borland
As a parent, I often second-guessed my decision to not let my son even consider playing football until high school. After watching 49ers linebacker Chris Borland walk away from the game, my son may never have a say in the matter.Read Full Article
Kike Calvo/AP Images for National Football League
What Concussions Do to the Brain at Impact
A concussion is considered the most minor and common type of TBI. A concussion can be caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head. It can also occur from a fall or a blow to the body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth.
“Concussions are caused by a rapid acceleration and deceleration of the head. This is commonly caused by an impact to the head, but there doesn’t have to be impact,” says Willis. “Think of the brain as sitting inside the hard skull, floating in fluid. If that brain is moved quickly enough, it can disrupt the signals between neurons,”
“The main symptom of concussion is disturbance of consciousness,” Willis says. This can show up as memory problems, difficulty concentrating, personality changes, mood problems, and cognitive performance changes.
“People often describe concussion as resulting in confusion, disorientation, seeing stars—a common expression is ‘having one’s bell rung,’” Willis continues. “Balance can be impaired as the result of concussion. People can also experience vision and hearing changes and headache or head pain.”
“Prior concussion predisposes someone to a worse outcome from a future one,” That’s especially true if the time between those injuries is relatively short because your brain has not fully recovered. Subsequent impacts—although seemingly minor—can have a magnified effect because the brain has already been made especially vulnerable.
Therefore Willis says “The importance of HPN Concussion Management is key to today’s athlete’s as we store the pre-concussion results in a vault for the next time the athlete gets concussed and we have an extremely viable vault of information Parents can see from concussion to concussion.”
Hiding the Truth about Concussions
The recent NFL Concussion lawsuit and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, estimates there are between 1.6 million and 3.8 million concussions in the United States every year—the majority of which are from sports injuries, 60% of NFL players will experience post-concussion syndrome after they leave the game. However, the challenges of diagnosing concussions mean that number may not be accurate.
This lack of awareness often results in athletes returning to the field before their brains are ready, which happened throughout Willis’s career.
On average, the symptoms of a concussion last for approximately 10 to 14 days, although the underlying brain injury may last longer. They say the only treatment for concussion is rest, which Willis says is not true as evidenced by his research with retired NFL players and treatment with HPN High Performance Neurofeedback. It works says Willis we have proven it by seeing dramatic changes in behavior, in most cases in the first session with HPN and we back it up and confirm it with pre and post qEEG Brain Maps, pre and post baseline and cognitive testing.
Willis says “overall everything improves and in most cases dramatically.”
“If you’re concussed and that injury is identified and you’re treated appropriately with HPN Concussion Management and allowed to recover, you will have no long-term effects. If a first concussion is not treated appropriately, subsequent concussions seem to happen more easily—and can cause more harm.
After a concussion has been diagnosed, the player retakes the HPN Concussion Management baseline test again at no cost to determine how his/her brain function may have been affected, it is stored in the players concussion vault of information from the first initial baseline examination and is used as part of the criteria for assessing when the player has returned to pre-injury status and can return to play. HPN Neurologic and HPN Concussion Management’s certified testing center in Sarasota, Florida provides these extensive baseline testing services.
- 5-10% of athletes will experience a concussion in any given sport season.
- Fewer than 10% of sport related concussions involve a loss of consciousness (e.g., blacking out, seeing stars, etc.)
- Football is the most common sport with concussion risk for males (75% chance for concussion).
- Impact speed of a football player tackling a stationary player is 25mph.
- Soccer is the most common sport with concussion risk for females (50% chance for concussion).
- Impact speed of a soccer ball being headed by a player is 70mph.
- Headache (85%) and Dizziness (70-80%) are most commonly reported symptoms immediately following concussions for injured athletes.
- High school athletes sustain an estimated 136,000 to 300,000 concussions per year.
- Athletes ages 10 to 19 sustain 29% of all sports-related concussions.
- A study published in the winter 2007-2008 Journal of Athletic Training suggested that girls were much more susceptible to concussions in sports like soccer and basketball than boys.
Concussions Can Lead to Suicide!
HPN Concussion Management has investigated the connection between concussions and suicide, a link that may be stronger than you expected. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 240,000 young players suffer concussions every year. Parents know their kids are at risk every time they step on the playing field. Shocking new studies have confirmed that several concussions over time can have devastating effects on a person’s health, and even lead to suicide. Concussions are a very common problem with athletes, particularly with football players. And many athletes who sustain concussions have complained of various problems afterwards, including depression and anxiety. And even if the player recovers fully from a concussion before returning to the play, the likelihood of sustaining a subsequent concussion is increased.
“Because concussions can cause clinical depression, concussions can also lead to suicide because untreated depression is the number one cause for suicide.”
– Fred Willis, Former NFL Player & President & CEO HPN Neurologic
In those individuals who had been repeatedly concussed, it’s almost like they’re more sensitized… It becomes easier for that individual to experience depression and suicidal (thoughts) as a result. In the ongoing HPN Neurologic Clinical Trials with retired NFL Players around the country indicates that concussions can indeed cause a myriad of problems and conditions, including:
- Biochemical disturbances
- Memory problems
- Sensitivity to light
- Sensitivity to noise
- Vision problems
- Inability to think clearly
“HPN Concussion Management knows now that as a result of multiple concussions, the brain becomes more vulnerable to more long-term kinds of brain injuries, which results in some of the depression we see in individuals.”
HPN Concussion Management’s Approach to Brain Recovery and the Treatment of Concussion
10 Steps to HPN Treatment of Post-Concussion Syndrome
HPN Neurologic Clinical Trial Studies with Retired NFL Players suffering the symptoms of Post-Concussion, TBI/CTE will conclude that QEEG is the most sensitive neuroimaging tool for the assessment of post-concussion syndrome and that HPN High Performance Neurofeedback has been shown to be the most effective, cutting edge and promising treatment to date for post-concussion syndrome.
Step 1: Consent and Acknowledgements
By signing this form, we acknowledge we have been provided information regarding concussions.
Personal Confidentiality Subject to HIPAA Privacy Rules
This assures us that your personal information is seen only by those authorized to have access. It also means that the personal identity and all medical information is known only to the individual patients and doctors.
Step 2: Medical History & Concussion Background
The Rivermead Post-Concussion Symptoms Questionnaire, abbreviated RPQ, is a questionnaire that can be administered to someone who sustains a concussion or other form of traumatic brain injury to measure the severity of symptoms. The RPQ is used to determine the presence and severity of post-concussion syndrome (PCS), a set of somatic, cognitive, and emotional symptoms following traumatic brain injury.
Step 3: King Devick Test For Eye Movement
The King-Devick Test is an objective, physical method of evaluating visual tracking and saccadic eye movements.
Step 4: Quantitative qEEG Measurements
For that you will wear a cap with sensors and electrical readings from your scalp will be taken. It is the same as getting an EKG where electrical readings are taken from your heart. This will take about 20-30 minutes. QEEG (quantitative electroencephalogram) also known as a “brain mapping” uses digital technology, of electrical patterns at the surface of the scalp which primarily reflect cortical electrical activity or “brainwaves. QEEG (quantitative electroencephalogram) is also known as a “brain mapping”.
STep 5: ImPACT’s Test
ImPACT is computerized and takes about 25 minutes to complete. The baseline report will serve as a comparison to a repeat ImPACT test, which HPN Neurologic will use to assess potential changes or damage caused by a concussion.
Step 6: CNS Vital Signs Test
CNS Vital Signs is an in-office procedure that helps objectively assess neurocognitive function using computerized neuropsychological tests that assist clinicians in the evaluation and management of neurodegenerative, neuropsychiatric, and neurodevelopmental disorders, aid the monitoring and management of their progression e.g. healthy aging, measure the response to treatment e.g. AD/HD medication, CBT, and help identify domains needing additional or full neuropsychological evaluations of brain disease. CNS Vital Signs also contains 50+ computerized evidence-based medical and health rating scales that can help clinicians quickly identify possible symptomologies, behaviors, and possible comorbidities.
Step 7: Sway Balance Test
Sway Balance is an FDA-cleared mobile software application that uses built – in motion sensors as an indicator of balance. Clinical- grade balance is a key factor in assessing, managing and monitoring concussion symptoms and orthopedic dysfunction. This test takes approximately 3 minutes to administer.
Step 8: NeuroTrax
NeuroTrax BrainCare is a cloud-based computer application used by healthcare professionals (e.g. occupational therapist, psychologist, doctor and nurse) caring for survivors of traumatic brain injury to evaluate brain fitness and to recommend a set of personalized recommendations to maximize brain fitness.
Step 9: Trazer
TRAZER® offers a 4-step complete solution to concussion management for athletes, seniors, military, and non-athletes alike:
- Baseline concussion assessment
- Objective BESS TEST immediately following a concussion
- Structured / staged return-to-play protocol
- Return-to-play assessment prior to athlete’s release to play.
TRAZER’s® performance report elicits objective measurements of reaction time, speed, acceleration deceleration, max heart rate, average heart rate and distance traveled. These measurements are found during sport specific, athletic movements, designed to mimic situations found in any athletic contest.
Jumping, running, shuffling, elevation changes, jogging and backpedaling will athletically challenge any athlete and help to assess global capacities. Random cues force athletes to react in a sport specific manner. TRAZER HRA can measure each athlete’s prowess in multiple directions and multiple vectors. TRAZER HRA will assist medical professional in determining if an athlete is “Fit to Play.
Step 10: Biodex Balance Assessment
The Biodex Balance Assessment Program for Concussion Management adds an objective neurophysical component that gives clinicians the ability to quantify the elements of balance before and after an injury occurs. The objective data provided by Biodex Balance Assessment provides a performance baseline against which post-injury performance can be compared. Detailed summary and progress reports track recovery and provide the medical team with quantitative data to help with the return-to-play decision.
Start 10 Step Treatment
For More Information on the HPN 10 Step Treatment of Post-Concussion Syndrome Contact Fred Willis of HPN Neurologic.
Treatment Options for Post-Concussive Syndrome?
For unknown reasons, 5-10 percent of people who experience a concussion have symptoms that persist beyond six weeks. These people are diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome (PCS). Previously there has been no treatment for the condition with proven success. The most common approach by physicians is to recommend no exercise and prescribe antidepressants.
“Post-concussion syndrome is usually not treated, though specific symptoms can be addressed; for example, people can take pain relievers for headaches and medicine to relieve depression, dizziness, or nausea. Rest is advised. Physical and behavioral therapy may also be prescribed for loss of balance and difficulties with attention.”The Mayo Clinic
“Despite the tremendous improvement in neuroimaging, neuropsychological testing and the ability of trained personnel to recognize and define human concussion there still remains a large gap in how to identify and treat those individuals who develop PCS or other related cognitive impairments.”Joseph C. Maroon, MD
Professor and Vice chairman of the Department of Neurological Surgery
“All of these aspects of treatment insure safe, comprehensive and effective rehabilitation for our clients. Cognitive therapy, occupational therapy, neuropsychological consultation, physical therapy, pilates, epsom salts, hyperbaric oxygen, diet supplements, cannabinoids and acupuncture.”Barry Willer, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychiatry and Rehabilitation Sciences University at Buffalo
HPN Concussion Management
Contact Fred Willis about HPN Concussion Management’s approach to brain recovery and the treatment of concussion.
“CTE Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy cannot be diagnosed during lifetime. Diagnosis for CTE occurs by studying the brain tissue after death.”
HPN High Performance Neurofeedback
HPN High-Performance Neurofeedback is a type of brainwave based biofeedback that has shown clinical efficacy in addressing the symptoms of TBI, PTSD, Post-Concussive Syndrome, Anxiety, Depression, and AD/HD.
Although it may seem contradictory, it can be calming, energizing and mood-lifting simultaneously. Head pain often dissipates quickly. Foggy thinking and confusion typically give way to clear thinking and a more even, more elevated, and less edgy, mood.
The client typically begins to notice the improvement with the first session, often before getting out of the chair. Sometimes this improvement is dramatic. At the completion of the set of training sessions, improvement is expected to continue on its own.
The system tracks the brainwaves, and sends directly back to the brain tiny, imperceptible, ultra-low power signals that result in changes toward a more highly functioning brainwave pattern. In this way, the brain seems to learn new patterns of behavior and become de-habituated from stuck patterns that represent suboptimal processing, reorganizing itself naturally into a healthier and more flexible way of being.
As the brain learns to function in this more efficient manner, it becomes accustomed to this higher-functioning way of being, and the effects last longer and longer. It’s as though the brain recognizes the reflection of itself, in its own language, and makes the appropriate adjustments.
Sessions require no conscious effort on the part of the client. These effects are independent of age, comprehension, or physical or mental capacity. The practitioner will frequently notice immediate changes in the brainwave patterns, and the client often notices the shift that occurs during the session. Family and friends will likely begin noticing the shift in mood and behavior in the first 1-4 sessions, often on the ride home from the first session. Behavioral changes are frequently noticed first by family, then by the client.
HPN Effective Intervention for a Range of Brain-related Conditions in Your Practice
HPN High Performance Neurofedback is used in the treatment of:
- Brain-based problems
- Learning disabilities
- Explosive anger & seizures
- Uncontrolled epilepsy
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Bipolar Disorder
- Autistic Spectrum
- Cerebral Palsy
- Bell’s Palsy
- Chronic pain
- Immune function
- Motion sickness
- Diabetes Mellitus
- Urinary incontinence males
- Suicidal behavior
- Motion sickness
- Physical balance
- Acquired brain injury
- Couples counseling
- Peak performance
- Sleep disorders
For more information contact Fred Willis at (978) 510-1245
The HPN Neurologic NFL Clinical Trials
Single Blind Clinical Trial Studies with HPN High Performance Neurofeedback in Retired NFL Players
What are the Common TBI/CTE Symptoms?
TBI symptoms vary depending on the extent of the injury and the area of the brain affected. Some symptoms appear immediately; others may appear days, weeks and even years later. If you feel right now that your current condition has pulled you out of your life plan and something is not right and you are feeling stuck, depressed, anxious, angry, aggressive, impulsive, erratic, withdrawn, tired a lot, lost, unfocussed, having difficulty staying asleep, headaches, confusion, lightheadedness, dizziness, blurred vision, ringing in the ears, a bad taste in the mouth, behavior or mood changes, trouble with memory, concentration, attention, or thinking, loss of consciousness lasting a few seconds to minutes, sensitivity to light or sound.
Repetitive mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), such as that experienced by Retired NFL Players, has been associated with the development of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Executive dysfunction is believed to be among the earliest symptoms of CTE, with these symptoms presenting in the fourth or fifth decade of life.
Executive function is a set of mental processes that helps you connect past experience with present action and you use it to perform activities such as planning, organizing, strategizing, paying attention to and remembering details, and managing time and space