Archived Story

Worth following through on concussion care

Published 11:14am Friday, August 31, 2012

Daily Herald editorial

While football has always been one of the more dangerous contact sports, scientists are just beginning to learn the lifelong ramifications of continuous shots to the head. So starting this year, the Austin Packers and a few other local teams are introducing programs to recognize the symptoms of a concussion, and we suggest all other local teams follow suit.

Getting your bell rung used to mean sitting out until you could see straight, but as science advances — and because literally hundreds of former NFL players have filed lawsuits against the league for negligence after suffering brain injuries — many are taking notice. The Austin Packers kick off their season tonight in Red Wing, but before anyone takes the field, athletic trainer Kris Dutton will be ready. The Packers have introduced ImPACT, a computer program that tests athletes’ awareness, word memory and reaction time prior to an injury. Essentially, it gives Dutton a baseline for every athlete, and if anyone is concussed, they can’t play or practice again until their score matches that initial test.

Dutton says he sees roughly 12 to 15 concussion cases per year with the Packers alone, so unfortunately, ImPACT will be well used. We’re glad Austin is taking notice, and hope others will, as well.

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