UCF doctor carefully watches for concussions at Knights games to protect athletes long-term

There have been a number of star players in the NFL dealing with concussions this season, including Miami Dolphins starting Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who had to miss numerous games because of the NFL's concussion protocols.

"The best way to think about a concussion is a functional problem, not a structural issue," said Dr. Fred Soliman, University of Central Florida's Lead Primary Care Sports Medicine Doctor. "So the neurons, the brain cells will get damaged in a way, that will affect all aspects of your body. How you think, how you feel, how you concentrate."

Soliman is at every UCF Knights team practice and game, helping to monitor players for head injuries.

"At football games we have a medical spotter that is up in the stands, in the press box. On the field, I'm down there along with the training staff, so if there's any suspicion of a head injury, the patient is removed and examined in a quiet area. That being the medical tent, or in the locker room, and then based on testing or examination, that's how a concussion will be diagnosed."


Dr. Soliman says that usually people recover from a concussion in seven to ten days, but it's all based on how they respond to treatment and their risk factors."It's very active now, we get people exercising within a day or two and then there's therapy such as balance therapy, aqua therapy that we can get people into, neck therapy, and so it's a very active process and individual process now."

Sometimes fans feel that there might be a rush to get a player back onto the field. Maybe before they're even ready to go. But the UCF doctors FOX 35 News talked to say they've never felt that pressure.

"I have never, not once in my career had a coach question how long a player's out," said Dr. Michael Jablonski UCF's Team Physical and Medical Director. "I have never been pressured to bring a player back too early. I have never had a trainer, an administrator, a coach. I have never in my career ever felt pressured to bring a player back before they were ready."

Both Dr. Jablonski and Dr. Soliman say their number one goal is to protect the athlete in the long term. They've built personal relationships with these players, they want to see them succeed and have a good quality of life in adulthood.