Concussion Concern - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

Concussion Concern

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WSVN -- It's breathtaking stunts like this one on the cheerleading team or the helmet to helmet hits on the football field that have fans cheering from the sidelines, but it also raises concerns about protecting our student athletes from damaging head injuries.

Dianne Sanzari, Athletic Director Coral Springs High School: "We want to make sure that they do not return to play until they can do so safely."

Dianne Sanzari is the athletic director at Coral Springs High School. She says the days are over of a kid taking a hard hit on the field.

Dianne Sanzari: "Then say, 'Hey coach put me back in.' And the coach would say, 'Go ahead back in.'"

This year, the Florida High School Athletics Association, which governs high school sports throughout the state has new guidelines coaches must follow to keep a kid from returning to play if he's showing signs of a concussion.

Dianne Sanzari: "All of our coaches will participate in this concussion management course and successfully complete it."

Coaches learn how to spot the signs of concussion, so they know when to call for medical help. Doctors say the concern is that even one hit can cause brain damage as an adult.

Dr. Gillian Hotz, Dir., Concussion Program/U-Health Sports Medicine: "We're really worried now about the young and developing brains, so multiple hits of this type on the brain will really play havoc later on in life."

Dr. Gillian Hotz: "So, what we want to do when you do the baseline testing is do the best that you can."

Another tool implemented this year to prevent concussions is called the impact test. It gives them a baseline to show how a student's brain is functioning.

Dr. Gillian Hotz: "It will bring up words that they have to remember. It'll bring up different shapes that they have to remember. It may ask them to count backwards from a certain number."

Then if they do suffer a head injury they re-take the test and compare the results.

Kimberly Dugdale, Athletic Trainer Coral Springs High School: "There have been many times I've told a kid no, and a coach, no I'm sorry, but you can't go back on the field."

Administrators say the measures they are taking are a big step in preventing this concussion concern.

Kimberly Dugdale: "When there's doubt you sit out."

Parents must also sign a consent form stating they're aware of the potential danger of concussions before their child plays in school sports.

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