Elon University researchers study long-term impact of concussions

ELON, N.C. -- In just one play, the excitement of a 10-point lead by the Carolina Panthers turned into a stomach turning moment for both fans and players.

Luke Kuechly was carted off the field to be evaluated for a concussion after he collided with New Orleans Saints Running Back Tim Hightower in the fourth quarter of Thursday night's 23-20 win.

"I mean, it is tough to sort of see,” said Elon University Professor Eric Hall, as he watched the replay of the hit from the night before.

This is Kuechly's second big concussion of his pro career.

However, in recent months other high-profile names like Cam Newton and even Dale Earnhardt Jr. have had head injuries that have sidelined them too.

"One of the things that is interesting about that is sort of the not understood parts of the concussion. People think always think about some of physical symptoms and cognitive changes that happen with it, but the emotional aspect and what that means and how that influences people's emotional response is often overlooked,” Hall explained.

That`s something researchers here at Elon University are focusing on.

For about eight years, Hall has been a part of the Elon Braincare Program, which works with Elon athletics to help advance concussion-related testing.

“We started off very small with contact sports with soccer and football,” Hall mentioned.

This spring, Braincare expanded to become a new research institute.

"We were trying to figure out ways to be unique and competitive, so we thought that the mental health aspect is really helpful for us,” said Hall.

I think the bigger question is whether or not people are completely recovered when they come back,” he would later say.

Researchers at Elon are also working with the University of North Carolina at Greensboro on their Mind Matters Concussion Research.

Wake Forest and Winston-Salem State Universities are a part of the NCAA U.S. Department of Defense Concussion Assessment.

High Point University also uses a machine that measures their athlete’s risk of concussions.