Football season is underway, and concussion prevention in youth sports remains a pressing topic.
One Fort Worth coach and one administrator said the concussion procedures have been significantly refined since their time in amateur athletics.
Former Texas A&M basketball player and current FWISD assistant director of athletics Lisa Langston is amazed at the progression of procedures, looking back on a concussion she suffered in college.
“I was in a daze. And so I didn’t play any of the first half of the game but I went back and I played the second half and there’s probably a good chance in today’s time I wouldn’t have played any of that game,” Langston said.
Langston played basketball for the Aggies in the 1980s.
“I can’t remember anything about the week after. I just remembered, like I said, how I felt. I knew that I was not myself,” she said.
Langston said current procedure helps prevent situations she found herself in as an amateur athlete. Langston said the education of student-athletes, coaches, trainers and administrators, coupled with the state mandated Concussion Oversight Teams, has helped alleviate many issues with concussions.
The Concussion Oversight Team of trainers is lead by a doctor, Langston said. This is mandated by the state.
Coaches are required to take a concussions course every two years, Langston said. They are then tested on their understanding of concussion procedure and protocol at the end of the course.
Arlington Heights head football coach Philip Young said he played through concussions as a football player at Texas Tech during the 1980s.
He said student-athletes now take mandated baseline tests that allow trainers and coaches to determine the player’s condition and recovery and the tests would have prevented him from playing through big hits he endured.
“I know I had concussions, several concussions looking back,” Young said of his time at Texas Tech. “[I] know I had them. And there was really not a lot of emphasis on ‘lets get him out and check him out.’”
Young, a football coach for over 20 years, said trainers are now more calculated in the process of allowing concussed players back on the field.
“When they’re suspected of having a concussion the trainer can take them, administer the test, the same test,” Young said. “[The trainers] can grade and scale what their answers are like compared to when they were deemed to be, you know, concussion free.”
Both Young and Langston agreed concussions are a prevalent issue in youth athletics. However, both used their experience with a lack of concussion protocol in the 1980s to prove the procedures have drastically improved.