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The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Interviews Dr. Williams About Increasing Number of Atlanta Falcons' Players in Concussion Proto


“Right now, for the overwhelming majority of people and the overwhelming majority of time, a concussion is a clinical diagnosis,” said Dr. Vernon Williams, a sports neurologist and director of the Kerlan-Jobe Center for Sports Neurology and Pain Medicine at Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles.

“We make the diagnosis based on the signs and symptoms along with the physical examination. We don’t have a widely available or frequently used test where we can put somebody in a machine and say, yeah, you had a concussion or not. It’s a combination of things.”

The Falcons’ training staff was on the ball that day.

“The key with that is that some of the symptoms are the same symptoms that people could have for other conditions,” Williams said, “and so that’s why you might have someone who has a headache and some nausea, but it wasn’t a concussion or maybe it was from a migraine or maybe it was from dehydration or heat illness or that kind of thing.”

Freeman missed a game in the 2015 season after he sustained a concussion against the Indianapolis Colts on Nov. 22.

The Falcons were in no rush to get Freeman back during the exhibition season. They wanted him ready for the regular-season opener.

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