Bell Ringer: IHSAA Toughens Rules To Cut Down On Concussions

By Jeff Neumeyer

August 19, 2011 Updated Aug 19, 2011 at 6:16 PM EDT

INDIANA, (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- The start of high school football brings a brighter spotlight on the problem of concussions and how to keep players safe from permanent damage.

New rules are in force across Indiana, effecting things on and off the playing field.

The Indiana High School Athletic Association is pushing new penalties for players who lead with their helmets in blocking, tackling and in carrying the ball.

Also, players showing signs of a concussion must sit out until cleared by a
health care provider at the game.

It goes further than that.

If a player's been diagnosed with a concussion, now he or she must see a physician, and there's no return to competition until the doctor says so.

At least one local school is being more stringent yet.

Bishop Dwenger kids who get diagnosed with a concussion, no matter what the sport, are required to get clearance from a special concussion center at St. Joseph Medical Center before they see the field or court again.

John Bennett/Bishop Dwenger Athletic Director: " What we've learned is, through Fort Wayne Orthopedics and some other seminars, that you don't want to have another concussion if you haven't recovered from the first one, and that's where the seriousness comes in, that's where the deaths and paralysis and everything else comes in. That's where you run into a lot of the troubles."

Research shows the dangers may be more real for high school athletes.

Bennett says, whereas it might take a professional football player seven days to recover from a moderate concussion, it might take a high-schooler 14 to 21 days for the same injury.

The IHSAA is taking it to another level to try and keep these teens out of harm's way.

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