The hot topic in sports these days seems to be concussions, head injuries, and brain trauma. It’s definitely a big problem in football and boxing and it seems to have become a topic of discussion in high school sports as well. With the recent lawsuits from former NFL players suing the league based on the knowledge (or the lack of knowledge based on who you speak to) of head injuries, neurologists are becoming bigger “players” in this discussion.
Dr. Barry Jordan, chief medical officer of the New York State Athletic Commission and a team physician for USA Boxing, talks to BlackEnterprise.com and discusses his passion for sports and sports medicine, how the NFL is handling the concussion problem, and how the concussion issue is being discussed with more awareness these days.
BlackEnterprise.com: Congratulations on your recent promotion at Burke Rehabilitation Center in White Plains, NY. Why did you decide to pursue a career in the medical field?
Dr. Barry Jordan: Thank you. I wanted to pursue a career in the medical field for a variety of reasons—but the main reason, as it is for so many others, was to help people. Early on, I knew I wanted to pursue a field within the areas of math and science. I was always interested in how the brain works, and that led me to neurology. Then, as someone who is quite passionate about sports, I wanted to figure out a way to incorporate that into my career. I became particularly interested in traumatic brain injury through my involvement with sports like boxing and football.
In medical school, I first thought of the idea to merge my love of sports and sports medicine with my desire to be a neurologist. At the time, there weren’t any sports neurology programs—in fact, my medical school colleagues laughed at me for the idea!
However, I felt this type of study would be important for the medical field, and I eventually went on to complete the first sports neurology fellowship in the country at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. Today, these types of programs are much more common—and I couldn’t be more excited for that.
As a neurologist, what advice would you give to people to have them avoid suffering from head injuries?