Northern Michigan’s News Leader
Head injuries in sports can often lead to concussions — which can mean time on the bench for players.
But a new statewide data collection protocol aims to help improve the safety of high school sports.
For the first time, the MHSAA has requested schools to report possible concussions in student athletes.
They want to collect data to learn how to help curb the problem.
“For us we see football, girls and boys soccer and hockey being our highest risk sports,” said Petoskey High School Athletic Trainer Stephanie Kanine.
Preliminary data from the fall season shows two percent of more than 100,000 high school athletes had concussions.
An average of 3.2 concussions per school, according to the MHSAA report.
“If I’m flagged by anything then they’re out of play, no questions. And we go from there.”
Football had 79 percent of all concussions reported for the season, and boys’ soccer had 11 percent.
Athletes go through a five-step process after getting a head injury.
“I give them a series of words, tell them to repeat them, then throughout our conversation I’ll say ‘Do you remember those words I told you?’” said Kanine. “To see if they can make new memories.”
Trainers look for symptoms like headaches, light sensitivity and dizziness.
Recovering concussed athletes take 24 hours between steps, ranging from ‘no activity’ to ‘full contact.’
For trainers and athletic directors, the data collection will open doors down the road.“We’ll see trends and be able to work together. Coaches, athletic trainers, administrators will all be able to work together and see the different risks.”
“It may lead to more advanced technology in the protection devices like you see soccer has trended to a mini type of helmet to protect heads,” said Rich Giddens. “Or more development of football helmets, hockey helmets, those types of things.”The MHSAA will provide a full breakdown of concussion data — including gender, sport, team level and setting — after the spring 2016 season.