Preventing Concussions in Youth Sports - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Preventing Concussions in Youth Sports

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In 2010, a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found the number of emergency room visits for head injuries caused by sports rose 60% in the previous decade among children and teens.

I spoke with Reno High School Football Coach Dan Avansino about the issue for my weekend show Face the State.

Avansino said during his 11 years as a coach, there have been many changes in an effort to keep players safe, one of which requires all athletes to take a test.

"They take a baseline test. It's a test that's done on a computer. It tests brain function, memories, reaction times and basic cognitive functions. They do this as a baseline at the beginning of the year and any time there's a suspicion of a concussion, they retake the test."

Avansino said that test is sent to a corporation in Las Vegas, where they are analyzed. Coaches are not allowed to let a player in question play until they've been cleared by that facility and a doctor.

I asked Avansino with all the attention concussions in sports is getting, are parents shying away from letting their children play football.

"You know, we have already seen a couple of students ourselves that have decided because of their parents influence, to say 'you know what, it's not for me.'"

Avansino said they are working on making some more changes so football players aren't at risk quite as often.

He said they are cutting down tackling in practice to a couple times a week. Also, teaching kids the right way to tackle.

Of course, the gear is a huge factor in safety as well.

"There's these protective gears during practice called guardian caps, for example. We are going to put our young men who have been diagnosed with concussions prior in this protective garment that goes over their helmet during practice."

To see the entire interview, tune in to Face the State Saturday at 4:30am and 3:30pm and again Sunday at 6:30am.

Written by Chris Ciarlo

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