More concussions are being reported in high school sports

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)- More than two years after new rules went into effect, more concussions are being reported at the high school level.

Doctors consider that good news.

“Some of these kids, by the time they’re 13 or 14 have had more than one concussions” said Dr. John Leddy, Director of UB’s Concussion Management Clinic.

Leddy sat on the advisory board for the the New York State High School Athletics Association which two years ago implemented mandatory rules that all public high schools must follow. Coaches, gym teachers and trainers must complete a concussion recognition course every two years. If a player is suspected of having a concussion, he or she must immediately be pulled from the game, and show no symptoms for at least 24 hours before returning. That player can only return with written permission from a doctor.

“Since the law went into effect, we’ve seen an increase in the number of referrals. That is a direct result of people being more aware of what a concussion is and what it looks like.” said Leddy “So, the fact that more are being reported and seen by doctors is actually a good thing.”

Canisius High School takes it one step further and requires all student athletes to take impact tests…a series of questions on the computer that they can go back to after a hit to determine whether that student has lost any cognitive skills.

Canisius Athletic Director Jim Mauro says even a cross country runner, and a member of the rowing team recently suffered concussions. “So we’re thankful that we had impact testing in place because at least you can go to the baseline and work from there.”

Dr. Leddy says the good news is that 85-90% of kids who have concussions will recover within a week or two, if they get the proper rest and stop playing after a concussion.

“If  they try to play through the symptoms, they won’t” said Leddy.

The State also requires all parents and student players to be made aware of how to spot the symptoms of concussions.

What’s next? Possibly a rule that would allow tackling in only two practices per week. NYSHSAA Executive Director, Robert Zaya says that is being considered right now by the panel’s football committee.

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