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July 30, 2015 | Happenings, Patient Stories

When Helmets Collide

It was Homecoming at Hudson High School. Running back Tucker Malecha caught a pitch from the quarterback, ran to the outside and spun off before receiving a helmet-to-helmet hit from the opponent. Down he went, hard. Although a clean hit, Malecha knew right away that something was wrong. Luckily, Hudson Physicians’ own Dr. Lincoln Likness was at the game. He tended to Tucker immediately on the sidelines. Dr. Likness was very optimistic that it was not severe, but it was a concussion, and Tucker was out for the next few weeks.

Paul Malecha, Tucker’s dad, was very concerned and cautious when this happened to his son. He knows all too well the long-term impact of concussions. An athlete himself, he suffered 4-5 concussions in high school, and is a strong advocate for trying to get concussions under control for young athletes.

Concussions are the most common type of traumatic brain injury. Symptoms include headaches and problems with concentration, memory, balance and coordination. People who play contact sports are at a higher risk of suffering from a concussion.

Before a sports season starts, it’s important to have a pre-season baseline concussion test. With baseline test results on file, there’s a direct comparison for that athlete when they aren’t hurt, in case something happens during the school year.


According to Tucker’s pre-season testing, his post-concussion test was only 50-60% of the baseline. Dr. Likness advised Tucker to rest and sit out the next game until his symptoms resolved. The following week he progressed to “no contact” practice and completed a series of physical tests under guidance from his athletic trainer and Dr. Likness. Two weeks from the injury, he passed the concussion test right before his next game and suited up, making it back to his sport safely.

Tucker had an injury-free senior year at Hudson High School. He now plays football at UW-River Falls and is on the men’s track team. He is majoring in exercise science, and would like to be a strength and conditioning coach.


The entire Malecha family is very thankful for Dr. Likness. They value his past experience as a physician for professional sports teams including the Cleveland Cavaliers, Cleveland Browns and Cleveland Indians. They appreciate that he attends every home football game and builds a rapport with the athletes and their parents. Dr. Likness goes out of his way to get patients the help they need, and he’s a very passionate and caring person. The Malecha’s describe Hudson Physicians as a first-class facility that has everything families need.

The Hudson Physicians Sports Concussion Program helps athletes return safely and quickly to their sport using cutting edge technologies and international best practices in head injury management. They offer ImPACT computer based neuropsychological concussion testing and balance analysis, in addition to expert evaluation by concussion specialists. Hudson Physicians Sports Medicine has a comprehensive program to help athletes rehab their injury and successfully return to play. They work directly with athletic trainers at area schools and other therapists to provide the best care to all athletes.

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