High schools undergo new concussion training


Several local high schools are making changes in their athletic programs to be more aware of concussions.

A new law that went into effect July 1st, said coaches must undergo a training program that specifically aids them in what to do when faced with a kid who suffered a concussion.

"Indiana was one of the first to actually require education for concussion awareness," said Dr. Stephen Simons.

Local high schools reacted to the NCAA's injury settlement that requires new protocol for head injuries.

"Usually colleges will be the first to implement rule changes, uniform changes, things of that nature," said Northwood Athletic Director Norm Sellers. "Then it usually trickles down to us. But in this way, it seems it's the opposite."

Sellers says they've had programs in place since the 2012-2013 academic year to try and lower the risk associated with contact sports.

Northwood established a 5-step process for student athletes once a doctor released them following a head injury.

"That kid cannot slip through the cracks," said Sellers.

The test involves a series of exercises before the athlete can return to play. It's to ensure the athlete is fully healed after a diagnosed concussion.

Penn Athletic Trainer Tricia Irvin says many local high schools also provide baseline testing for their athletes. Baseline is a computer test that establishes a base knowledge. If a student receives a concussion, they use the test to determine how long before the athlete can return to play.

"Several dings to a small brain can exacerbate and compound," said Irvin.

But Dr. Simons is concerned about self-reporting injuries.

"With tighter restrictions on return to play, there is some concern that there will be some non-disclosure of symptoms," said Dr. Simons.

"Kids aren't necessarily on board because they want to play and we understand - we want them to play," said Irvin. "But we want them to be successful through high school and into college."