OREM -- A concussion is a risk a player takes to play football. The Timpanogos High School quarterback received such an injury after Friday night’s game resulting in him being airlifted to an area hospital.
Jackson Dunford, senior, claimed he was knocked out twice during the game against Corner Canyon High School. His coach, Ed Larson, said if he knew he had blacked out once he never would have put him back on the field.
“I don`t know of any coach who will put the health of an athlete after the cost or outcome of a game,” Larson said.
Coaches and trainers are responsible for the well-being of their players. In 2011 a law was passed that requires coaches to complete concussion training. Concussed athletes cannot return to the field. Also, players and parents must sign forms saying they’re aware of the risk.
Larson said his team always has a trainer and doctor on the sidelines, and they’re extremely good at evaluating injuries. But in many situations injured players refuse to stay on the sidelines, so coaches have made it a habit to take their helmets.
“They'll do whatever they can on their own to get back on the field,” Larson said. “You do everything in your power to make them understand that they cannot play at that time.”
The first time he was knocked out, Dunford said, he was playing defense and momentarily blacked out making a tackle. But he quickly got up and made it back to the sideline, where the team’s trainer checked him for symptoms of a concussion.
Larson said the trainer cleared Dunford, but with the team losing 28-7. The coach decided to keep the senior out until the next offensive series, when Dunford took the field and suffered the game-ending hit.
“There`s a lot of things I don`t remember from the game,” Jackson said. “I remember because I blacked out a few plays before.”
Getting knocked out is a symptom of a concussion, said Bart Thompson, assistant director of the Utah High School Activities Association.
“The fact that he feels like he blacked out in the game from another hit,” is concerning, Thompson said.
Thompson said a hard hit, commonly referred to as “getting your bell rung,” is a concussion, in most cases.
“If he (Dunford) checked out OK, but they determined he didn’t have a concussion, they were following protocol and they were doing what they were supposed to do,” Thompson said.