Potential NFL concussion protocol changes spark discussion for high school athletics

“Maybe it just feels like a headache right now, but in reality, the next impact you have could be much more significant,” said Cazier, Chiawana HS Athletic Director.

PASCO, Wash. — A series of events involving the Miami Dolphins quarterback led his concussion injuries to make him seize up on the field. According to the Chiawana High School Athletic Director, John Cazier, concussions are a real issue.

Cazier said the State of Washington takes concussion regulations very seriously, especially in the past few years.

“There’s certainly more focus on it now than there ever has been before. Since the Zackery Lystedt case, years ago, it’s become more prevalent,” said Cazier.

The Zackery Lystedt case being that of a high school football player who played through a concussion in 2006, causing him to be permanently disabled after returning to the game too early, without proper care.

In the State of Washington, since then, even the suspicion of a head injury is warrant for a concussion evaluation.

Damage to athlete’s heads doesn’t just happen with one incident. If there is less pressure, but more incidents over time, such as numerous concussions, the effects aren’t going to be as obvious, but that doesn’t mean they’re any less damaging.

“Maybe it just feels like a headache right now, but in reality, the next impact you have could be much more significant,” said Cazier.

And it’s not only the job of the athletic trainers and coaches, but especially the student athletes involved. Cazier said they might be the only person who knows they’re experiencing symptoms.

“We need athletes to know that you have a responsibility when you have concussion-like symptoms,” Cazier said.

This is why Chiawana High School takes such care in educating not only staff, but the students as well about symptoms of concussions.

“We talk about it a lot. We talk about it at coaches meetings, we have trainings for every coach, we have our athletic trainer talk about the process in those meetings, and I talk to athletes about it,” said Cazier.

It’s not just football, but soccer, wrestling, cheerleading and many other sports that see concussions. One problem is, athletes sometimes play through these injuries.

“It’s an injury that can be overlooked if we don’t pay very careful attention to the symptoms of it, and athletes want to play through concussions and they want to keep going,” explained Cazier.

Keeping an eye out on anything that may have caused damage to the athlete’s head will prevent further damage from happening.

“Thank goodness we have protocols in place and we give attention to it,” Cazier said.

According to the NFL, there are changes coming to concussion protocol. This involves potentially removing players from the game who stumble. This protocol hasn’t been finalized, and the language hasn’t been secured, but they’re calling it a needed step for player safety.

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