“The idea of trying to help our younger athletes is still there, [we] just need to determine how to do it,” Kraft said. “There are [school] districts around Indiana that are extending their impact testing which is one of the parts of the equation to middle school.
“The whole idea of legislating how to take care of concussions is really a tricky issue,” he said. “We want to improve the care for the athlete that has a concussion.”
Kraft said the most important part of the legislation is education. Each year, the athlete and their parents have to receive some education on concussion and how we manage, diagnosis and recognize the symptoms.
The legislation states if an athlete has symptoms of a concussion during a practice or at a game, they have to be taken out of the contest immediately either by the medical staff or referees. They can’t return to action on the same day.
Before returning to practice the athlete have to been seen and evaluated by a medical professional with proper training.
Kraft said in the past five years the number of patients being seen with a concussion has raised by 20 percent among athletes.
“The biggest change over the past 10 years for us is to understand how significant concussions are and how it impacts our kids,” he said. “Ten years ago, when someone got hit and they had concussion like symptoms, we would take their helmet. Hold them out for 15 minutes and at that point if they were clear with no symptoms we would let them go back in.”
The new rules specify when kids have concussion like symptoms they should never go back into a game that day, he said.
“The biggest danger of concussion is having an injury on top of one that has not healed completely,” Kraft stressed. “When that occurs, you’re chances of long term issue’s goes up.”