How can you tell when a concussion is really bad? Doctors are still figuring that out. NY1's Erin Billups filed the following report.
Israel Greisman had experienced a minor concussion at least once during his 20 years of playing hockey, but nothing like this last one.
"I was wearing a helmet, full face guard and everything, but my head hit the ice and I kind of felt, like, my brain kind of shake a little bit," Greisman says.
Initially, he went back to life as normal, working his day job as a Wall Street tax attorney, but then, symptoms began surfacing, persistent, sharp headaches and dizziness.
"Problems with memory, sleep patterns being different," Greisman says.
Greisman was sent to neurologist Teena Shetty. After determining he suffered a moderate to severe concussion, she entered him into her study, funded by General Electric and the NFL.
"We are trying to see how different parts of the brain might change as the brain recovers from the concussions," Shetty says.
Shetty is looking for biomarkers that indicate how bad a concussion is like the, size of the hippocampus, whether there are micro-hemorrhages and changes in blood-flow, and specifically, how much physical and cognitive rest is needed.
"Someone can tick off a list of symptoms, but it then becomes difficult to say how severe their concussion is and what the prognosis of recovery of that concussion is," Shetty says.
Greisman has been off of work for over a month. Shetty is putting him on differing degrees of rest, from no physical activity to complete mental breaks.
"There really wasn't much I could do. She even said I couldn't even listen to an audio book, like, that would be too much mental stimulation," Greisman says. "It was brutal. It was absolutely brutal."
He says the rest has helped him feel more like himself, and he has gradually been allowed to reintroduce reading and other cognitive activities.
"I thought I'd get better in a day or two," he says. "I had no idea that this was necessary, that you had to rest your brain in order to recover from a concussion."
It's a common misconception.
Shetty is looking for more participants to join the study.
"We really are badly in need of a better tool, and I think all of us are very cognizant of the absence of such a tool, and the fact that the problems associated with concussions are way ahead of the science," she says.
For more information about how you can participate in the study visit this clinical trial webpage email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 212-774-2138.