What Schools are Doing to Prevent and Treat Concussions

By: Brooks Wagler Email
By: Brooks Wagler Email

ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va -- For one local player and his parents, concussions have become all too familiar. There is a game plan that is in place though to make sure kids are healthy enough to return to the field and make parents feel safe.

Isaac Baker has suffered three concussions from playing football at Spotswood High School.

“Everything was black, couldn't see anything and I could hear faint noises, like kind of blurry. I had no clue what was going on, it was all a blur,” said Isaac.

That feeling, nothing new to Isaac, was his third concussion, in three years.

“Since I had that concussion, I'm definitely more cautious about like getting them, and trying to prevent anything from happening like that.”

Isaac's parents make sure that he does not jeopardize his health by playing again too soon, but they know that when he returns he will be in good care.

“We do remind him, that it's not worth ruining your life, if you feel you are not ready, or feel like you haven't healed. We remind him of this every time,” said Kim Baker, Isaac's mother.

Isaac's father, Jamie Baker, said he knows that the coaches won't let his son on the field until it's safe.

“The protocol they take, really make us feel comfortable as parents, because they really stress that they're not going to let them come back before they're ready,” said Jamie.

At Spotswood High School, Head Coach Chris Dodson, does not want his kids to rush back, so he leaves the decisions to be made by the kid, his parents and their trainer.

“He tries to maintain an open line of communication between the athlete and parent,” said Dodson. “We try to stay out of it as much as possible, so we don't influence the kid to come back before their ready to.”

To help trainers, Rockingham County Schools are partnering with Rockingham Memorial Hospital and in that time the number and severity of concussions has been a lot less than you would think.

“Out of all the kids that play, all the practices they have, and all those games, It's less than 5 percent of those kids that we see getting injured. And out of all those, the majority of concussions are in the mild to moderate category, that typically recover in two to three weeks,” said Dr. Thomas Weber, who works at RMH in Sports and Orthopedics.

With the direction the field is taking, that number will only continue to decrease and the timetable to return to action will be made with more caution.

“Hopefully, as we move forward and pay more attention to it, rightfully so. We're going to figure out better ways to protect kids against head injuries. Now that we know a little bit more, about how serious they are down the road, we're much more conservative about letting kids go back to their sports.”

In reality, most players will not get a concussion in their careers, but for players like Isaac, there is a game plan in place and parents should know their kids are in good hands.

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