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NFL Appoints Barrow Physicians To Help Provide Concussion Medical Services On Sidelines


Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center has been selected by the National Football League (NFL) to provide additional neurological medical services during all home Arizona Cardinal football games this season. Physicians at Barrow will report to their first regular season game this Sunday as the Cardinals take on the Detroit Lions. The appointment is part of a new NFL guideline that places independent medical specialists on the sidelines at all games to better address concussion.

Three of the nation’s top brain injury experts from Barrow - Nicholas Theodore, MD; Javier Cardenas, MD; Taro Kaibara, MD; - will be present on the sidelines at every game in Phoenix to provide neurological specialty support to the physicians of both teams playing in each game. The Barrow physicians were selected for the NFL’s Unaffiliated Neurotrauma Consultant program based on Barrow’s renowned neurological treatment of brain and spinal cord injuries including concussion.

“We’re very pleased to help make a difference in the diagnosis and treatment of concussion among professional football athletes,” says Nicholas Theodore, neurosurgeon and medical director of Barrow’s Neuro Trauma Program at St. Joseph’s. “By having more medical experts on the field, players will more quickly and effectively receive concussion evaluation and treatment.”

The brain injury experts from Barrow will examine players immediately after they return to the sidelines if they show concussion symptoms. If it’s determined a player has suffered a concussion, the Barrow physicians will discuss appropriate treatment. The move is part of the NFL’s vigilance in limiting the number of head injuries and addressing them earlier during games.

“It’s important to quickly recognize and treat professional football players who have suffered a concussion so that they don’t immediately return to the game and put themselves at risk for a more serious brain injury,” says Javier Cardenas, Barrow neurologist and concussion expert.

“Concussion needs to be taken seriously and we’re happy the NFL has initiated these new guidelines to help protect their athletes against brain injury,” says Taro Kaibara, neurosurgeon at Barrow.

Barrow has taken the nation’s lead in concussion awareness and treatment. Two years ago, Barrow, the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) and the Arizona Cardinals created Barrow Brainbook, the nation’s first mandated concussion education and test for high school athletes. Last year, Barrow implemented the Barrow Concussion Network that includes voluntary pre-injury testing, post-injury medical resources to all AIA schools, and groundbreaking research on injured Arizona students. Just last month, Barrow introduced a new education platform for young athletes called Barrow Brain Ball. The video game which will soon be available for download on all Android and iPhones, is designed to teach children how to safely avoid collisions in football.

Contact:  Carmelle Malkovich, 602.406.3319

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