New concussion rules in place as prep athletes being practices

Law requires new education, prevention measures

Published On: Aug 09 2012 08:02:58 PM CDT   Updated On: Aug 09 2012 08:08:40 PM CDT
SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. -

A law passed earlier this year means there are a few changes for high school athletes and coaches who are starting fall practices this week.

The law requires new education and prevention measures to try to cut down on concussions for student athletes.

Avery Wescott, a Waunakee senior, suffered a concussion earlier this year.

"I don't remember anything but supposedly I got kicked on the ground and kicked in the head," Wescott said.

He was pulled out of the game, but he never had to be officially cleared by a doctor to come back months later.

"I was going to, but then I just waited a long time for playing again or anything. It wasn't a big concussion or anything," Wescott said.

But now players in any sport that are suspected of a concussion are by law required to be cleared medically to return, and there's more education on the signs and symptoms.

"Concussions are a scary thing, without a doubt. It's a crazy animal in itself. Sometimes you might know a kid has a concussion right away, maybe he's on the ground looking confused and it's hard to get up. Sometimes he comes off the field and you have no idea that he's had a concussion," said Brian Kaminski, Sun Prairie football coach.

Kaminski said the coaches train football players to watch their teammates. During games, there's a trainer and a doctor at the field to keep watch.

"(We look for) balance issues, difficulty remembering events they should remember, what they had for breakfast, in severe cases, the name of their parents or who they are talking to," said Ben Becker, a Sun Prairie trainer.

As his senior season begins, Wescott said it's good that others will have his back.

"(When I suffered the concussion), I was out of it, had no idea what was happening. I was like, 'Where am I?'" Wescott said. "I think about (the concussion) all the time. I sort of play safer now. I feel the same, but I always think about it."

Schools that WISC-TV spoke with Thursday said they are doing everything from requiring parents and athletes to watch a video provided by the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association to sending information home with parents and requiring a signed form back saying they've read up on the signs of concussions.