Organization takes needed step to stop concussions

South Bend Tribune

South Bend Tribune

The Indiana State High School Athletic Association has taken the first step in determining how prevalent concussions are among student athletes, and it’s a significant number.

The report showed there were 1,219 concussions among athletes participating in the five-month fall sports season. Most of the concussions — 70 percent — were sustained by football players, followed by boys and girls soccer players with about 20 percent. The concussion reports were submitted by 189 of the association’s 410 schools during the period between July 1 and Nov. 30.

It’s a good start, but it’s important the IHSAA and high schools work together to increase the participation rate so the statistics provide the most accurate assessment of the potential problems.

The report is the first since a 2012 law took effect requiring schools to immediately remove from play or practice any athlete suspected of sustaining a concussion. Athletes are not allowed to return until they have written clearance from a licensed health care provider trained in the evaluation and management of concussions. Most athletes —

92 percent — who suffered a concussion were able to participate in their sport again within 30 days.

Several local coaches have said Indiana is ahead of the rest of the country when it comes to taking concussions seriously. Improved equipment, along with teaching proper techniques and reaction to symptoms also have helped to keep athletes safe.

Years ago no one understood the life-altering consequences concussions can have, and there are still questions about their long-term effects. But the IHSAA, along with high school coaches and state legislators, acknowledge this critical health issue and are taking steps to keep student athletes safe. It’s important they continue.