ALBERT LEA, Minn. – The topic of concussions has taken the spotlight in all levels of sports.
The Minnesota Department of Health has been researching how big the problem is at the high school level across the state. They released their report Thursday.
It shows nearly 3,000 concussions occurred last school year based off a survey of 36 Twin Cities public schools. That averages out to about 22 concussions per school statewide.
Local athletic trainers say preventing them starts with education.
“From our perspective, we are making sure that we let the coaches know. We get some information on the websites for the schools that have signs and symptoms. Probably the biggest thing that we do at the high school level is baseline concussion tests on our high contact athletes,” said Lynn Scheevel, an athletic trainer for the Albert Lea High School.
She said education stretches further than those teaching the sport.
“Just making athletes and parents aware so that they report these things, and letting kids and parents know that it’s a serious issue. It’s an injury to the brain. Most kids will say it’s just a concussion. It’s a brain injury, so you need to take it seriously,” Scheevel said.
Football and boys’ and girls’ ice hockey had the highest rates of concussions. In sports with both male and female athletes, girls had higher rates of concussions. Scheevel said that is likely because girls are more apt to report them.
Minnesota passed a law in 2011 that requires coaches and officials to pull an athlete under 18-years-old from a game if they notice concussion symptoms. A health care provider must give permission before they can suit up again.