Concussion protocols in full swing for JCPS student athletes
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – A few weeks into the high school football season and some parents are already praising efforts to prevent athlete concussions.
Keenya McCauley’s son Phillip Spencer plays on the offensive line for Ballard High School. Recently, she saw first hand just how scary a concussion can be.
“I seen his eyes roll back, he fell out,” McCauley said. “He was just laying there. And as a mother, that's a very scary feeling. We went out there, took his helmet off. His head was really hurting. I put him out for a month. They said it was a mild concussion, and it would be just a week, but I didn’t want to take the risk.
Jefferson County Public Schools have taken a step forward in prevention and education about concussions. It’s all thanks to $150,000 grant from Norton Healthcare. With that money, JCPS has purchased 235 new helmets. JCPS says the lowest rated helmets have been removed from the field and now all football players are wearing helmets with the highest impact ratings.
“I think it's excellent,” McCauley said. “They should. They should have done this a long time ago.”
Football isn't the only sport susceptible to concussions though. So athletes who participate in high impact sports like soccer, volleyball, field hockey, basketball, lacrosse, wrestling, baseball and softball will undergo a baseline impact test.
“What this is going to test is some various brain functions like reaction time, memory and we just want to get a baseline on you to see how your brain functions normally,” said Rebekah Hibbert, Norton Sports Medicine Coordinator.
If the athlete gets a concussion he or she will need to pass the test again before returning to play, which trainers say is crucial.
“Each concussion is different from the next. It's like a snowflake. They're all individually different,” said Brian Jurich, Norton Sports and Medicine Operations Director. “In the last ten years the numbers have doubled in concussion diagnoses. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that people are more diligent in reporting it but it’s something we really want to stay ahead of.”
The baseline concussion test takes about 40 minutes to complete and JCPS says about 10,000 athletes will take the test. Some parents say it’s a small price to pay, and are willing to pay more.
“If we have to put in money for safety for our kids, so be it. I'm in favor of that,” McCauley said.
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