The Impact Report with Barry Willer, PhD

Impact Report

We are pleased to welcome Dr. Barry Willer as a member of the Scientific Advisory Board

As a University of Buffalo professor of psychiatry and the director of research at the university’s Concussion Management Clinic, Dr. Barry S. Willer studies and teaches a variety of concussion-related topics. From evaluating the impact of concussion on the physiology of patients to researching the effectiveness of the Balke treadmill test, Dr. Willer’s career has a special interest in those who live with traumatic brain injuries such as concussion.

We recently spoke to Dr. Willer about his professional work and what information is most important to remember about concussion.

What does the word “concussion” mean to you?
Concussion is a temporary state of confusion caused by external forces to the head. This form of traumatic brain injury has been the focus of much of my research. I generally investigate issues that involve brain dysfunction.

How does concussion factor into your work?
My research career has centered on the treatment of individuals living with the effects of traumatic brain injury. This includes topics such as family coping strategies and rehabilitation outcomes. Currently, I’m evaluating the impact of concussion on patient physiology, as well as potential treatments of the long-term effects. I am also interested in how traumatic brain injuries are related to emotion recognition, expression and regulation.

What information has your work started to yield?
My most recent research has further demonstrated the effects of concussion on the autonomic nervous system, and new evidence is beginning to point to a more permanent effect than previously known.

Have you ever experienced a concussion personally? Tell us about that time.
While building a treehouse for my grandchildren, I fell and suffered a facial fracture. I didn’t realize I had a concussion until my wife pointed out gaps in my memory.

In your opinion, why is it important to educate your field about concussions?
Concussion is treatable but must be managed appropriately to avoid any long-term consequences. It’s important to advocate for concussion education to prevent multiple injuries and untreated conditions.

If you could share one piece of information about concussion, what would it be?
When in doubt, sit it out. It is imperative that athletes are taken out of the game when injured in order to prevent further injury and to begin the healing process.


Barry Willer, PhD, is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board for the International Concussion Society. Concussion.org, sponsored by ICS, is the No. 1 destination for information related to concussion prevention, diagnosis and treatment. Our mission is to serve medical professionals, athletes, administrators, coaches, patients and the public by providing a central repository of accurate and scientifically vetted concussion research. Working alongside our world-class scientific advisory board, Concussion.org aims to be the most trusted global index on one of the most common, yet least understood, forms of traumatic brain injury.