TERRE HAUTE, Ind - Indiana’s relatively new law, that mandates high school athletic departments take concussions in young athletes more seriously, is getting high praise at Terre Haute North High School where fall football season kicks off Friday night in Indianapolis.
"I received a concussion when I was in high school. I still don't have two hours of my life,” said Jed Arseneau, head athletic trainer at North. Arseneau was referring to an accident he had in high school involving a vehicle, not athletics.
Arseneau knows first-hand how serious head injuries can be, and the long-term effects that often go overlooked.
"Returned NFL players having dementia, having memory loss,” Arseneau recalled, referring to the NFL’s lesson only a few years ago in what can happen to the brains of athletes who play professionally.
Arseneau is certain that legal scare for the pros was Indiana’s impetus to pass this concussion awareness and education law, July 2012.
The law, passed by legislators, and sanctioned by the IHSAA and the State board of education, sets strict protocol for schools when dealing with a suspected concussion:
1. The athlete is immediately pulled from practice and any games.
2. The athlete is immediately evaluated, on-site, by athletic trainers.
3. The athlete is, if deemed appropriate, evaluated by a physician on-site and determined whether further treatment is necessary.
4. There are thorough forms a doctor must sign-off on in order for the young athlete to return; a process known as “return-to-play.”
On the pre-emptive, or pro-active side, Arseneau said all 600 – 700 athletes at Terre Haute North, including any students participating in intermural sports, are given an IMPACT exam: a computerized brain test taken prior to any injury so that doctors can have a clear picture of what that student’s healthy brain looks like.
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