Big bonecrushing hits, watching them is one thing that makes football fun. For years, it wasn't a big deal.
“A concussion when I was playing was more like a bruise,” says Coach Russ Schneider of Fox Creek High School. “They called it you got your bell rung.”
Now we know better but when it comes down to those precious last few minutes and winning the ballgame, some might not make the right call.
“We have to put it out there or it will get swept under the rug and ignored,” says Tim McLane, the Head Athletic Trainer at Georgia Regents Sports Medicine Center. “A lot of coaches say, 'you got your bell rung,' kids say, 'you got your bell rung,' old school dads who played old school ball say, 'you got your bell rung.' There is no truth to it.”
Schneider says it's the about the kids.
“If there's a question, he's out, it's not about winning the ballgame anymore,” he says.
But not every coach would make that call.
“If you don't tell them you have to do it, they're going to take the easy path,” says McLane. “They have enough pressure on them from administrators and the community, 'you need to win and you need to do it right.'”
That's why the South Carolina House of Representatives passed a bill requiring schools to have a concussion policy for all sports: It will require them to go over the policy with players and parents, and if a player shows signs or seems out of it, they're out of the game. Trainers say this bill could make a big difference.
“It's not red tape and steam coming out of the kitchen,” McLane says.
Blake Crawford is a Fox Creek player and loves football.
“He loves it and he plays with his heart, he plays hard,” says Jill Crawford, Blake's mother.
And playing hard can mean hits in the head; Blake had one of those this year.
“I was out of it,” he remembers. “I sat on the ground pouring water on my neck, bad headaches, and feeling sick to my stomach.”
Still he says, if Coach Schneider hadn't coached the team on concussions he wouldn't have taken care.
“I played the rest of the game, so if I didn't know anything about it, I'd probably just have gone home,” he says.
Instead, he went to the hospital and got help, and that's why coaches and trainers say this bill could be a game changer.