High school trainer notes improvement in concussion protocols

Concussion protocols are back in the news after an NFL quarterback goes down on national TV.
Published: Oct. 4, 2022 at 5:38 AM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Concussion protocols are back in the news after Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovaiola went down with a concussion last Thursday on national television. Many argue he should have never been in the game after being injured four days earlier. Now an independent doctor that cleared him has been fired.

That’s at the national level. What’s happening locally in high school football? One trainer says there have been improvement in concussion protocols.

Anyone who has played football or is familiar with it knows that it’s a high-contact sport -- and that contact can be violent. With the recent news of Tagovaiola suffering a concussion during a game last week, has there been enough done to keep athletes safe?

As the freshman Andover Trojans prepare for a game against Eisenhower this week, right on the sidelines is Jylissa Tahy. The athletic trainer has seen a number of concussions during her time working with the school.

“When I first got here, their protocol was a pretty basic protocol, but we’ve built it up over time,” Tahy said.

That protocol, which all schools follow under KSHSAA rules, includes cranium-nerve evaluation, a Scat 5 form and baseline testing.

“If they’re not up to those baseline numbers, we don’t return them back to play,” Tahy said.

One of the biggest changes Tahy has noticed is that athletes, their families and their coaches are more aware than ever of concussion symptoms like headaches, dizziness and difficulty concentrating. Coaches are pulling players from the game if any of those symptoms occur.

“It’s not just a blow to the head,” Tahy said. “It’s not just getting your bell rung anymore.”

But is there more that needs to be done? Tahy believes education is key when going out for sports.

“(Trainers and coaches are) big on education and letting them know the safer way to hit, especially in the younger age,” Tahy said. “Once we teach them younger, they’re more susceptible to learn that and keep up with that.”