New law takes head injuries more seriously

By: Sabrina Ahmed

After a year of waiting, it's become law. People now have to take student athlete injuries more seriously.

The last thing a high school athlete wants, is to be taken out of the game but what they don't realize is their brains are at stake. “The worst person to ask about a head injury is the kid with the injury,” said East High Trainer, Mac McCuiston.

McCuiston says he's seen it all, and he's been trying to teach the dangers behind brain injuries for years. Finally, with the passing of the Nebraska Concussion Awareness Act, his teachings can't be an option for anyone.

Under the new law, coaches and parents will be trained about signs of a concussion and what can happen if it's not properly treated. Also, once the athlete is taken out of a game for a head injury, they won't be allowed back in. They can't play again until a licensed health care professional has cleared it.

“There's absolutely no way you can determine the severity of an injury or a head injury with an adolescence in ten to 15 minutes,” said McCuiston.

But many schools, like East, have had these training methods in place for years. “If a kid is injured, it's important to say it's their life, it's their head, their brains, their future,” said Southeast High Athletic Director, Kathi Wieskamp.

For bigger schools, this won't mean a big change. For smaller schools, who don't have trainers of staff, this could mean more money. When it comes to recovering from a head injury, authorities say health trumps budget.

“This isn't the first time a requirement has come along for the health and safety of children and it's not going to be the last time that it's come around for the health and safety of children,” said NE Chief Medical Officer, Joann Schaffer.

The training available to the schools will be provided by the state. Many classes are online and free so it could help those budget issue some schools face.