7:30 PM, Oct 26, 2012   |    comments
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Around 3.9 million concussions occur every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you play football for some years, they say you've got a three out of four chance of getting a concussion.

Jessie Hicks, head football coach at Central High School, says concussion treatment has changed drastically since he was a player.

"It was just called getting your bell rung," says Hicks. "And the coach was just trying to push you back on the field, 'oh you just got your bell rung son, you gotta go back.'"

In a collision sport like football, one out of every ten athletes will get a concussion during a season.

"A lot of people don't understand as parents or even as athletes how important a concussion is, how dangerous concussion is. So, I think we need to be more proactive than reactive with the situation to educate our parents then educate our students and let them know some of the signs," says Hicks.

Some of those signs include dizziness, slurred speech, and behavior changes. Loss of consciousness, even for a second, is serious, but most concussions occur without that happening.

Hicks says, "I've learned so much about concussions that it really changed my mind set, you know, I'm always concerned about my players, but when I saw how some kids were affected, how they had lost movement in their limbs and couldn't function and that type of deal, it made me look at it from a different perspective. I have a more honest understanding of what I'm dealing with when I'm dealing with a child that is concussed."

Many organizations want all coaches and players to learn all of the signs of a concussion before they step on the field.

Hicks says he always reminds himself that, win or lose, his players are his first priority.

"No football game is more important than a kid's health or safety. So if you see those signs, there's no return to play. You gotta basically tell your kid, even if he's the star of your football team, 'you gotta go sit down.'"

According to GHSA rules, that athlete can't return to play until a medical professional clears them.

The Concussion Coalition estimates that a professional football player will get hit in the head between 900 and 1500 times during a single season. Once an athlete gets a concussion, their risk of getting another increases.

Researchers say there is no magic number for recovery time. It's different for every athlete and every concussion.

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