The truth about concussions

Published 4:25 pm Friday, November 11, 2011

“If your brain is unhealthy and you get hit again, we are taking about up to a 50 percent mortality rate on the field.”

The potentially fatal side effects of multiple concussions in a short period of time recently led to a new state concussion law, which was signed by Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley in early August.

The new law requires coaches to immediately remove an athlete from competition who is suspected of suffering a concussion. The law also requires the athlete to be cleared by a licensed physician before returning to the sport.

For Pelham High School basketball head coach Joel Floyd, the legislation served to reinforce what he was already practicing.

“The new law is based on what medical professionals recommended, and basically says that if a kid is removed from play with a concussion, they are out that game and they have to get cleared to play again,” Floyd said. “But we were already doing that anyway. We are big on educating the kids, and we make the parents sign a form that says they understand the regulations.

“We aren’t going to change the way we handle concussions, because you never know how bad they are,” Floyd said.

Shelby County parents and athletes have been cooperative with the new regulations, Lebek said.

“I came here from Ohio, and parents were more of an issue up there. I’ve not seen that here,” Lebek said. “A lot of kids will try to rush through the recovery because they are missing out on what they love to do.

“But when I tell a kid and his parent ‘We need to focus on his safety for the rest of his life,'” that usually puts things in perspective.