MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The football field is where athletes are born, rivalries are fought and where the highest number of concussions are reported; according to the National Federation of State High School Associations.
Edgewood Academy Football Coach, Bobby Carr says some players aren't aware of the seriousness of the issue, "Kids say they're fine, all they want to do is play."
When it comes to athletes, little stands between them and the field. That's why Alabama Lawmakers helped create a new law to give doctors like Martin Wybenga, team physician for Prattville High, the final say on putting an injured athlete back in the game.
Dr. Martin Wybenga, "I feel we are fortunate, we are a large school. It's much more difficult for smaller schools, like others across Autauga County. I'm not sure how they are going to deal with this and find medically trained people, someone to look out for the kid's health and well being."
Edgewood Academy coach Bobby Carr supports the new concussion law, which he feels puts the student athlete in the best care while removing the legal burden from the coaching staff.
"It protects coaches. That's why it's great to have a doctor on the sideline. I like it."
Many concussions don't show textbook symptoms. A lesson doctors and coaches have learned the hard way.
Wybenga recalls an incident with a player several years ago that took a strong hit. "He came off the field, 4 or 5 minutes later the player decided he wanted to go to the concession stand. He actually opened the gate, left the field and went to the concession stand. A trainer retrieved the player, and after undergoing tests, he was diagnosed with a concussion and didn't know who he was, or where he was."