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Concussion safety protocols considered a top priority for young athletes

Concussion safety guidelines are constantly evolving.

SAN ANGELO, Texas — If you play sports or follow professional or college teams, you probably know that concussions are a serious issue. Playing sports increases a person’s risk of falls and collisions with objects or other players.

The San Angelo Independent School District has a concussion oversight team monitoring all athletes in sporting events.   

“We work with our teachers to make sure that our students are being handled appropriately in the classroom," Lake View High School athletic trainer Kelcey Vanderburg said. "We make sure that we have a healing process all the way around, not just getting them back onto the field but also getting them back into the classroom fully.”

The UIL's concussion policy has been in place since 2012, and the SAISD concussion oversight team has provided direction to athletic trainers. Impact testing was the initial step for detecting concussions and it has evolved since then.

“We have a higher incidence rate of concussions nowadays than we did 10 years ago because our kids and our parents have learned how to recognize and report concussion like symptoms," Lake View athletic trainer Troy Wilde said. "We have created an environment where our kids, our coaches and our parents are willing to report accurately.”

There are various ways to prevent concussions like proper strength training, equipment safety checks and being proactive. This won’t eliminate concussions, but it can minimize the risk dramatically. 

“We are very grateful for our coaches being those eyes and ears for us," Vanderburg said. "We’re glad they’re pulling those kids and keeping them safe instead of letting them back in.”

Vanderburg said teamwork is the most important component in concussion safety.