DENVER (CBS4)– Former Denver Broncos strong safety and special teams Dave Bruton says he suffered six concussions during his NFL career. Now he’s inspired to become a physical therapist to help other athletes who receive head injuries.
A state law in Colorado limits what he can do. That’s why he’s lobbying lawmakers to change that.
“I’ve seen the effectiveness of physical therapy in the world of mild traumatic brain injuries,” said Bruton before state lawmakers.
Bruton is a former NFL player turned physical therapy student. He knows the importance of treating a concussion accurately and physical therapists he says have that training.
“A concussions are not a disease that require blood work to diagnose but there are conditions that can be identified through science and symptoms,” said Bruton.
When the state Legislature passed a law in 2011 requiring children to get the okay of a health professional before returning to play, physical therapists weren’t included.
Representatives Jonathan Singer and Lois Landgraf plan to change that.
“The question is, ‘Are PTs qualified to do this?'” asked Singer, a Democrat representing Longmont. “Within their scope of practice, I believe they are.”
Singer and Landgraf note that physical therapists are already qualified to return adults to activities.
“Running, cycling, skating, skiing, hiking, climbing, camping… so, to say that they can’t return somebody to an organized sport doesn’t, in my opinion, make a lot of sense,” said Landgraf, a Republican representing Colorado Springs.
But Dr. Lynn Perry, a neurologist, says children are different.
“In a head injury, particularly for children in the 11-18 age group, treatment is time and time is treatment,” said Perry. “The most important part was to limit the choice of the provider because of the delay in setting up an appointment could save a life.”
Unlike neurologists, physical therapists, she says, often have same-day appointments.
Bruton says that doesn’t mean they’ll rush a decision, “The PTs in my past and present have had the tools necessary to aid in recovery and return me back on the field for your beloved Denver Broncos.”