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Arizona 1st state to teach high school athletes about concussions

June 7, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Arizona has become the first state to educate student athletes about concussions and when to report them to coaches.

"I scramble, a guy goes for my legs and i go head first right into this guy's chest," he said. "Right as I hit that guy I just got this ring, it just went down my spine and just went up."

To try to reduce injuries like Calle's and raise awareness, Arizona became the first state in the country to mandate concussion education and a formal test for student athletes must take before play.

Barrow Neurological Institute developed an online teaching tool called Barrow Brainbook. Doctors, peers and pros help kids understand concussions and the importance of reporting and treating them.

Every year, 3 million sports concussions occur and most of them happen to high school athletes.

"There are deaths that have occurred as a result of multiple concussions in football and other sports so it's really important to get the message out and to prevent these problems," said Dr. Javier Cardenas, a neurologist from the Barrow Neurological Institute.

Signs of concussion may include headache or pressure in the head, loss of consciousness, confusion, dizziness, ringing ears, slurred speech or fatigue.

"Now that there's Brainbook, I think kids will start to understand, like, 'Wow, I had a concussion, I need to see somebody right away.'"

The medical professionals who created the Barrow Brainbook program hope more states will follow Arizona's lead and mandate education for their student athletes about the danger of concussions.

Calles knows he's one of the lucky ones. Thanks to months of treatment and rehab, he's back in the game, hoping he'll never be in that situation again.


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