Athletes at risk for concussions as falls sports kick off - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Athletes at risk for concussions as falls sports kick off

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High school football kicks off this week.

This fall athletes of all ages will be competing on the field, but off the field coaches and parents are working to prevent injuries, specifically concussions.           

For football players like Jordan Huehnerfuss getting hit is just part of the game.

"I actually saw stars," said Huehnerfuss, Wausau West Senior.  "I didn't come out of the game. I didn't tell my coach or anything and I continued to play the game and I ended up finishing the game too."

Later, Huehnerfuss got checked out and learned he suffered a concussion.

"I didn't think I had anything wrong," said Huehnerfuss. "I did feel kind of funny when I had it. Just in the future you gotta, if you are feeling funny you gotta tell your coach."

That's something state athletic officials agree with.

To protect athletes, the state is working to educate both players and parents.

"If you can heal from them [concussions] , you can heal in 5 to 10 days and you can go right back out there full speed," said Wade Labecki, WIAA Deputy Director. "But if you don't and have a second concussion while you are still have an existing concussion you can have second impact syndrome. That's what we are afraid of. That's what we're trying to educate about."

Officials say that education starts at an early age, and concussions can happen in other sports. not just football.

"You see it in hockey," said Labecki. "Boys hockey is number two. Boys lacrosse is number three. Girls soccer is number four."

To help protect against head injuries, the Wausau West football team uses specially padded helmets. Team leaders say they hope this will keep players like Huehnerfuss off the sidelines, and on the field.

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