Student athletes in Mississippi high schools will soon be evaluated for concussion after they've been shaken up during a practice or competition. MPB's Lawayne Childrey reports on the new Mississippi Youth Concussion Law.
At 16 years old Wesley Ward says he was a starting linebacker for Central Hinds Academy in Raymond. But after a serious head on collision with another player his playing days were cut short.
"As I kept on hitting my vision began to blur, my head began to throb and I knew something was wrong. At that very moment I went into a coma. My coma lasted for 18 days but to me it was as if I was in a coma for five months because I don’t remember five months of my life."
After years of trying, Mississippi has finally enacted the Mississippi Youth Concussion Law. Under the law student athletes shall not return to a competitive game before demonstrating that he or she has no symptoms of a concussion. Governor Phil Bryant signed the bill into law yesterday.
"This could happen in any type of sport where a collision could occur between two players. Where you've got fast pitch softball taking place, ice skating. This is for all of those sports in high school both independent and public schools where an athlete might get injured and I think we're gonna save lives here today."
We've seen many people go catch a ball and it hits 'em directly in the head. And they don't see blood, they don't see bones sticking out so they don't think that's a real injury.
"They can’t remember their name, they can’t remember what's going on or what they had for breakfast earlier that day. How to socialize with people. When those things become an issue then they start taking awareness. But hopefully we can get them aware before it gets bad."
That's Kira Berch, an athletic trainer with Mississippi Sports Medicine in Jackson. She says protecting athletes from the effects associated with a concussion is something she has long been passionate about.
Mississippi is the last state in the nation to adopt a youth concussion law. It is slated to take effect July 1st. Lawayne Childrey, MPB News.