High school athletes are passionate about their sports. They want to play … sometimes even through pain. but there’s one injury that can sideline them immediately — concussions.
The state of Nebraska uses guidelines called “Return toLearn” to identify when an athlete is allowed back on the field or court. St. Patrick’s Quarterback Bryce Byrn is back on the practice field for the Irish. He is preparing for the Irish’s first round opponent in the state playoffs. A concussion a couple of weeks ago, forced Bryce to the sideline. The quarterback couldn’t take any snaps until he passed a relatively new concussion protocol called the “Return To Learn.”
Doug Long, an athletic trainer, says, “That way thekids get back in the classroom. They are preparing academically before we put them out on the field.”
The state of Nebraska mandated this new proceedure to make sure athletes are truly ready to get back on the field or court.
Shelly Byrn, Bryce’s mom, says, “As a parent you have a look at the big picture. He doesn’t see the big picture. Now he see the big picture but he knows we did the right thing.”
Bryce says, “It was hard because I just wanted to compete. Now that I look back at it I would rather behealthy for the playoffs rather than a regular season game.”
Long says it is very important to follow these proceedures for the safety of the athlete. A concussion can be difficult to detect. Long says you need to be able to ease an athelte back into competition.
Long says, “Once they can do a full day of school then they start back on the gradual return to play. They start out just doing streaching, easy jogging that sort of thing”
The first year of the new concussion protocol has worked very well and it has helped insure the players return to the field healthy.
Long says, “15 to 20 years ago we would send them back to practice and we had no idea they may not be processing information correctly and that is still part of the residual concussion and they were not ready for practice.”
Long says there will probably be some tweeks to the new concussion protocol but he says the new proceedure is makinig a difference….Bryce had to miss the last game of the regular season but he is cleared to be in the line-up and ready to make a run at the state championship. Long says in cases like Bryce’s have to use your head — and make the right choice.