Safety protocols help Georgia high school athletes prevent head injuries

High school coaches and parents can watch for the signs of a concussion
High school coaches and parents can watch for the signs of a concussion(BreannaHarris/kfvs)
Published: Sep. 30, 2022 at 5:32 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Safety concerns surrounding contact sports like football are being renewed after Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was sacked during a game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

“That was an emotional moment. That is not part of the deal anyone signs up for even though you know that’s a possibility,” said Mike McDaniel, Dolphins Coach.

The injury was so bad Tagovailoa was hauled off the field on a stretcher and rushed to the hospital. Some are questioning why he was on the field in the first place; he was hurt in a game against the Buffalo Bills less than five days ago.

Safety protocols in football have been a hot topic for nearly two decades now. Those concerns have even affected youth enrollment in the sport, which is down 48 percent over a 12-year period.

“Although they’re protected you have to worry about those underlying conditions that they could possibly get,” said Dee Collins.

The Georgia High School Association, which oversees varsity sports throughout the state, has a page on its website dedicated to preventing concussions.

For example, if an athlete is suspected of having a concussion, they need to be evaluated by a healthcare professional.

The GHSA also doesn’t allow an athlete to return to play on the same day of a concussion diagnosis and they need to be medically cleared to return to the field.

Tagovailoa was released from the hospital a few hours after that injury. The NFL Players Association is investigating whether proper injury protocols were followed.

“If there’s any indication that there’s a concussion, they go into concussion protocol. It’s very strict,” said McDaniel.

High school coaches and parents can watch for the signs of a concussion. According to the Mayo Clinic, they include; headache or a feeling of pressure in the head, nausea or vomiting, balance problems or dizziness, and double or blurry vision.