Recently, the National Federation of State High School Associations issued some new rulings regarding concussions and head injuries in high school football. The rules that were in place had any player who was knocked unconscious on the field or possessing symptoms of a concussions (dizzyness, disorientation) to be removed for the remainder of the game. The rules allowed for written permission from a medical professional to allow the player back into the same contest.
Those rules have changed.
Now, if a player who was knocked out is put back into the game, the official is supposed to assume the player has been cleared by a medical professional. Basically, it's eliminating the "written proof" part of the equation and allowing the refs to trust the judgment of a coach who's job may be on the line and a student who desperately wants to continue to play.Obviously, I don't like this. I do appreciate that the NFHS is recommending all coaches take a course on how to treat concussions, but I don't know that's enough to overcome the boneheadedness of amending this rule.
Luckily, Texas doesn't follow the NFHS guidelines strictly. They have their own Medical arm of the University Interscholastic League that makes the rules for sports safety. These rules have always been tougher than the NFHS and started before the national guys were taking concussions as seriously. In Texas, for instance, anyone who leaves the game with a concussion is out for 10 days, mandatory. They can't even practice or lift weights during that time. That number also goes up depending on the grade of the concussion, but the simple rule is the player misses quite a bit of time. That's necessary to allow the brain to heal and prevent future injuries.
With all the young men playing football in the Houston area alone, safety should be a primary concern for anyone who loves the sport. Be glad that Texas has such stringent guidelines on this rule and hope that the Medical Board doesn't follow suit with their national counterparts.