Schools in Douglas County tracking player head injuries - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Schools in Douglas County tracking player head injuries

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LAWRENCE, KS (KCTV) -

Some school districts in Douglas County have put an emphasize on identifying concussions in players.

The hope is to prevent long-term health issues from brain injuries.

Athletes at Eudora High School are among those participating. And it's not just football. All sports, such as cross country, track and volleyball, are included.

"It's not about someone knocking you over," said Kennedy O'Dell, who plays volleyball and track. "It's about going for the ball and you're going hard, and you're not looking where the floor is."

The program records a baseline test of the students' brain activity. A follow up test when an injury occurs helps diagnosis issues.

"I think that it shows just how far we've come in our understanding of brain injury, what causes the initial injury and how those injuries can be cumulative over a lifetime," Eric Magette, an athletic trainer at Eudora, said.

He said the tough-minded culture of sucking up an injury is changing. The changing attitudes is partly due to the attention and criticism the NFL is receiving for its handling of head injuries.

"We're finding that the students are self reporting those concussions a lot more, and we're finding the coaches are much more comfortable going up to a kid and saying, 'Are you all right?'" Magette said.

O'Dell said it is hard to sit on the sidelines in the short term.

"But in the long run, it's worth it because you're getting the most out of your sport when you're healthy and when you're active," he said.

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