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Local schools emphasize safety in high school athletics

Posted on Tuesday, August 7, 2018 at 3:00 pm

By Elizabeth O’Farrell

Before long, the stands at local high schools will be filled, cheers will fill the air, and athletes will take to the fields and the sidelines. In the Clopton and Louisiana school districts, the football, softball, and cheerleading squads are ready to compete and perform. Underpinning all of the planning and practicing, though, is a shared concern for the safety of all athletes.
Over the past several years, the concern about head injuries, specifically concussions, has grown as information connecting those injuries with far-reaching consequences has become more available. At the high school level, the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) mandates watching a concussion safety video.
Mr. Ryan Griffin, the Athletic Director at Louisiana, said, “We have always had kids watch the concussion video.”
Mr. Matt Cannon, the Athletic Director at Clopton said that ninth and eleventh graders take a baseline test, which establishes reaction times. If a concussion is suspected, the trainer administers a test and compares reaction times. The result of the second test determines whether a player is removed from a game or not.
“We get our coaches to as many trainings as we can. I’ve attended conferences and shared information with our coaches,” Mr. Cannon said.
“Our coaches are cautious,” Mr. Griffith said. “If there is even a hint of a concussion, the kid is out.”

Autumn Castagna and Maria Gutierrez model the softball safety mask which is mandated wear for pitchers and first and second base infielders.

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