Local football coach talks safety when it comes to concussions - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Local football coach talks safety when it comes to concussions

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT)- High School football has finally arrived and many players in Region 8 will be taking some hard hits to the head, which brings up the question of safety. 

Last week the NFL awarded former players and spouses a settlement for $765 million dollars after a concussion lawsuit .

Jonesboro High School football coach Randy Coleman said they have a five step protocol in place if a player gets a head injury.

"It's basically a gradual progression back into being able to play again. Starts with light work, no helmet, no pads then followed up by a little bit heavier strenuous work," Coleman said.

By the fifth day if the player no longer has any symptoms, they can returns to the field. He said he is grateful to have a trainer on the field to help with those types of injuries.

"A lot of times the coach as competitive as we get we want to return that guy to play as fast as possible," he said.

He said the new helmets offer a lot more protection to the players.

"We are getting top of the line helmets that are providing our kids with the best prevention of any type of head injury," Coleman said. "The padding has gotten softer, they have taken padding from fighter pilots helmets and incorporated them into the manufacturing of the helmets."

Players are also banned from making certain hits during the game. 

"No leading with the crown of the helmet, try to keep your eyes up when you hit. You want to make sure at all possible you lead with the shoulder," he said.

Dr. Dan Johnson is a neuropsychologist and has been consulted by Arkansas State University and area high schools when it comes to concussions.

"People sometimes make the mistake thinking that concussions are only loss of consciousness and that's not necessarily true," Johnson said. "Impact oriented concussions, the force of impact on the brain causes the brain to shift."

He said there are a wide range of symptoms that go along with having a concussion.

"Ringing ears, headaches, nausea, disorientation, gate instability, sensitivity to light, sensitivity to sound," he said.

Coleman said they take all the necessary steps to make sure the players have a safe and healthy season.

"Everything is about making sure the young men who play this game have a great and healthy future," he said.

Dr. Johnson said the ability to identify concussion symptoms have come a long way. It's important for players to take time to heal before going back on the field.

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