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      Watching for concussions during high school football season

      Varsity football coach at Gwinn High School, Dion Brown, has some goals for his first season as head coach. One of them is to keep his team healthy.

      â??Last year we had maybe five or six guys with concussionsâ?? said Coach Brown. â??We actually just had our starting middle linebacker quit yesterday because of a concussion.â??

      This season, Coach Brown is not taking any chances.

      â??Whenever a kid says he has a headache, we just send him off to the trainerâ?? said Brown. â??Dizziness and stuff like that, just send them off to the trainer and they will deal with it.â??

      Athletes all over the Upper Peninsula are encouraged to take a baseline impact test before their season starts. This test measures brain function. If an athlete is suspected to have a concussion, they are given the test again and their results are compared.

      â??Everybody here that is playing for us has been pretested so if they do get a concussion there is a baseline to compare them withâ?? said Jeff Olson, Ishpeming Football Coach.

      Concussions are more common in high contact sports, but can happen at any time.

      â??A concussion is a disruption of neurological function, in other words, brain function, associated with some type of external forceâ?? said Dr. Julianne Kirkham PhD, Clinical Neuropsychologist.

      Some signs to look out for are memory loss, dizziness, slurred speech and confusion. A mild concussion can last two weeks but some can last nearly six months.

      â??Part of it is taking care of your kids in practice, teaching the proper techniques of how to hit the correct way and tackle the correct way and again, keeping your players as safe as possibleâ?? said David Lâ??Hullier, Marquette Football Coach.

      â??I think it is sometimes just unlucky if you get a concussion if you get hit the wrong wayâ?? said Dominic Suardini, Ishpeming Senior Football Captain. â??But definitely hitting with your head up, with the correct bend in your back should help.â??