WEST POINT, Miss. (WCBI) — “You know everybody wants to win. It’s 3rd and 1, you need the starting defensive lineman. That starting line backer in there to help make a stop. But a kid’s safety has to come first.”
Coach Chris Chambless and the West Point Green Wave are preparing for another competitive season on the gridiron. But this year, a new concussion law is in effect. Something Chambless and others across the state are taking very seriously.
“You can visibly see if somebody is shaking or disturbed. You can tell if somebody’s got their wits about them or not. You know I’ve had kids say ‘I’m alright coach, I can go!’ Well no you’re not. I can tell you’re wobbling a bit. Something’s wrong,” said Chambless.
The Youth Concussion Law tightens the grip on concussion management and guidelines for public and private schools.
“In years past if a child was hit in the head and felt a little groggy, he went to the sidelines, sat down after a few minutes. If he was clear and felt okay he could go back in to playing. Now if there’s a concussion, the child has to be removed from playing. He has to be assessed on specific questions. If after 20 minutes he’s had no previous history of concussions, he can then resume activity. If there are previous episodes of a concussion, then there’s a time limit on how long he has to be out and specific categories of things he must pass in a assessment to go back into play,” Dr. Keith Watson said.
One technique that trainers do to keep players safe is add or remove air in their helmets. The air helps with the impact, side impact and front impact of a hit.
“It’s kind of like an airbag in a car. It decreases that impact when you get hit,” said Dr. Watson.
Coaches and doctors agree the new law is a big win for players on and off the field.
“It makes it a little more difficult on the physicians and training staff who are on the sideline in assessing the child, but it’s absolutely a great benefit to the child and to the athlete,” said Dr. Watson.
The Youth Concussion Law impacts all sports, not just football. It officially went into effect July 1.