The world recently got to hear an NFL coach telling his players to “kill the head and the body will die.” Some radio wags said we shouldn’t overreact to the recording of New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams emphasizing concussion-delivery as a game strategy—that’s just football.
As a member of UNLV’s training staff since 1984 and director of athletic training since 1999, Kyle Wilson has seen enough to know that “killing the head” is serious business—and that prevention and quick diagnosis of concussions are among the most important issues in sports medicine today. Wilson and his staff now perform cognitive and balance tests on UNLV’s nearly 500 student-athletes before each team’s season so that if one of them suffers a head injury, trainers can determine the severity of it.
“It’s just another way we have to safely return student-athletes to participate,” says Wilson, who on April 4 won the Most Distinguished Trainer Award from the National Athletic Trainer’s Association. “So that’s great for the student-athletes. It takes a lot of time to test 500 student-athletes before they’re injured, but it’s definitely necessary and very beneficial to their safety.”