Brain Health

NFL Sideline Neurosurgeon Dr. Khairi Discusses Head Injuries and Player Safety

To view this interview, please click here.

INDIANAPOLIS, IND. – Just hours before the release of the Concussion movie, people are talking about the negative effects that football and other popular contact sports can have on the brain.

“When the players are dazed, confused, have a headache, light bothers their eyes, they can’t see straight. Those are the common signs of a concussion,” says Doctor Saad Khairi a neurosurgeon at IU Health.

Those signs caused by trauma to the head are all too common on the football field.

“If they are out cold, they are by definition concussed,” says Dr. Khairi.

The NFL has come under fire in recent years with several former players suing the league after developing cognitive and mental health problems. The medical issue is at the center of a new film being released on Christmas Day, starring Will Smith. It is based on the doctor who first started digging deeper into the damage caused by all those hard hits on the football field.

“No one goes into the NFL thinking I’m not going to be able to think right when I’m done playing. Most are willing to sacrifice their body, but not their brain,” says Dr. Khairi.

When the dangers of a concussion were first made public, the NFL made some new rules to protect their players, including partnering with local neurosurgeons and keeping team doctors on the sideline at every game. Doctor Khairi is one of them; he will be on the sidelines at the next Colts home game.

“We go and look at them and say yes, you are not balancing as well…you are not remembering the three words that we give you. All of these tests that we do in the locker room. If they fail then they get pulled from the game,” says Dr. Khairi.

Many doctors feel that the increased awareness from the players has helped them cut back on the number of undiagnosed concussions, and this movie should help even more.

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