Concussion pill could prevent damage, doctor says - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Concussion pill could prevent damage, doctor says

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(CBS photo) (CBS photo)

Concussion rates are on the rise for high school athletes, according to experts.

However, there may be a pill that could help stop the damage brought on by hard hits.

"If something was too loud, I would just start getting a terrible headache,” said London Glen, an athlete who suffered a concussion.

London, 13, was on the wrong side of a football tackle last year. His concussion was so bad that he had to miss nine weeks of school.

“A dull, just pain in my head,” London said. “And sometimes I would just get a terrible headache where I couldn't do anything."

Last month, UConn football's Casey Cochran made the difficult choice to give up the sport he loved after suffering multiple concussions.

“I made a tackle, the ball came up and smacked me in the head,” said Jewel Robinson, a former soccer player for Central Connecticut State University. “And [I] felt a little dizzy. [I] came off field. I was like ‘oh my God, I can't see.'"

Robinson, a former CCSU soccer standout, had to sit out some games during her sophomore year after getting a concussion on the field.

"[I] sat out the game, [a] week and a half, [then] two more games,” Robinson said. “[I took the] impact test until no more symptoms and I could play again."

In the future, there may be a new way to treat concussions before any damage is done.

Dr. James Leichleiter is a researcher at the University of Texas-San Antonio who recently received a patent for a concussion pill.

"This is a pill that is designed so that it does not get into the brain unless actually it is damaged,” Leichleiter said. “And so if you don't have damage or an injury that day, it's excreted and you're good to go."

The pill works by activating compounds that stimulate the special cells that protect the brain from long-term damage.

The idea would be to give the pill to athletes, soldiers or anyone else right after they suffer a head injury.

"Sometimes you know if you have been hit in the head, you are not quite right,” Leichleiter said. “It would be nice if you could take something not just for the headache, but the damage that was causing the headache."

A clinical trial is planned.

Leichleiter said he hoped to get the drug to the market within the next five years.

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