NORTHWEST ARKANSAS-- Concussion is a hard-hitting term in sports and the worst kinds are undetected and mismanaged.
"A sports-related concussion is an injury that can adversely affect the cognitive functioning, the academic, and also the social functioning of the athlete. Headache, sensitivity to light and noise, mental fogginess, are all symptoms," Elbin said.
R.J. Elbin, exercise science professor at the University of Arkansas, says athletes are hesitant to talk about head trauma.
Elbin said, "They are afraid of letting their team mates down, they are afraid of being taken out of the game, of losing their spot."
A former football player, and coach, he knows the warning signs are difficult to detect."
"I've had my fair share of concussions, none of which were diagnosed. When I played it was 'shake it off and get back out there.'"
Now he's getting kids in the know by opening 'the Sports Concussion Research Office at the University of Arkansas.
Elbin said, "There's great support in this community for programs such as this to keep kids safe."
Elbin's team is conducting assessments with cutting-edge technology and collaborating with other experts "to actually look at the quality of recovery for some of those athletes that try to be tough and play through the head injury, verses athletes that are immediately removed from play. We can get them better and get them better quicker," Elbin said.
When athletes hit their heads on the field, coaches, parents, and players have a plan in place.
Elbin said, "we're trying to figure out you know how many concussions occur, how we can better diagnose and detect these injuries, and how we can manage these injuries so that athletes can make a safe return to play."