Game Day

As a nationally recognized innovator in the treatment of intracranial vascular lesions and minimally invasive spine surgery, Dr. Arthur Day is known as a ‘game-changer’ in the field of neurosurgery.

That title takes on a literal meaning any given Sunday when Dr. Day practices medicine in a setting far different than a clinic or operating room: NRG Stadium. For the past several years, he has served as the official NFL unaffiliated neurosurgical consultant for the Houston Texans home games.

Expert on the Sideline

Although all NFL teams have their own staff of physicians, which often includes a neurosurgeon, the league requires that on game day, an independent neurological doctor must be present to weigh in on medical decisions regarding player return to play. It’s no secret that football players, especially quarterbacks, wide receivers, and defensive backs, often take hard hits in the course of the game that could significantly affect their cognitive faculties. Increased media attention on the potential neurological harm caused by repetitive head injuries sustained in football, as well as the release of the film Concussion highlighting the relationship between chronic traumatic encephalopathy and the suicide of several former Steelers players, has rendered Dr. Day’s work on the field all the more crucial. “Black and white,” is how Day describes the majority of his assessments, noting it is most often clear to him as well as the team physician whether or not a player is okay to return to the game.

But gray matters (pun intended) are what make Dr. Day an MVP (“Most Valuable Physician”) to the Texans. Decades of academic as well as clinical experience studying and treating neurological trauma in athletes enable him to navigate the nuances of the signs and symptoms of a damaged brain and determine with clarity and certainty whether a player’s wellness should be risked.

While Dr. Day’s main responsibility is to help evaluate the neurological health of the players, sometimes his expertise proves valuable for other members of the organization. Such was the case on November 23, 2013 when Texans head coach Gary Kubiak suffered a transient ischemic attack (commonly referred to as a ‘mini-stroke’) and collapsed at halftime. Dr. Day immediately recognized that Kubiak was experiencing a neurologic rather than a cardiac event, and directed he be transported to the Texas Medical Center to undergo specific treatments.

Dr. Day recently reprised his role as an independent physician consult during Super Bowl LI.

Though the game held, to say the least, more than a few surprises, for Day the match was
relatively drama-free: few major injuries and no difficult medical calls. A victory in that sense
regardless of who you’re rooting for.