New law protects student athletes with concussions - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

New law protects student athletes with concussions

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Amarillo, TX - Area student athletes are being better protected on and off the field.

Although concussions can't be stopped, new guidelines are helping complications remain low.

Under Natasha's Law, as of September 1st all public schools in Texas were required to adopt guidelines on how to react when a player sustained a concussion.

AISD tells us they've had success with changes implemented last year and how more changes this year are helping them stand out.

Melissa Aguilera says she's relieved that her son who plays football for Travis Middle School is being well taken care of.

"That's smart that they're protecting them and taking them out of the game so they don't get re-injured, especially in the same game or get killed. It avoids worse injuries," says Melissa Aguilera, son plays football.

AISD says they have changed their recovery and treatment protocol.

If an athlete possibly has a concussion they are pulled from the game immediately.

They must be cleared by a doctor before playing again and go through several steps to recovery with a trainer.

"We actually tell them to go home and stay in a dark room, get plenty of rest because the visual stimulus like video games and texting. It takes a longer time to recover when you're doing things like that. Then we go through testing to see if it maybe brings symptoms back and all the way until they are fully released to play," says Coach Bruce King, athletic trainer, AISD.

Depending on their progress, an athlete could be out for a week or longer.

This year AISD has even added baseline concussion testing, something that many school districts don't require.

"It's a computer test that measures cognitive skills, reaction times and memory and things like that. We do it as a baseline so that we have a comparison after they've had an injury, that way we can tell where they are as far as return from that injury," says Coach Bruce King, athletic trainer, AISD.

This new tool allows coaches and trainers to better determine how severe an injury is and where the player is in the recovery stage.

It also helps meet the players individualized needs.

AISD says if a concussion is left untreated it can cause complications like memory loss later on.

Most area schools districts are now required to have athletic trainers and coaches undergo concussion training on an annual basis.

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