Leigh Ann Caldwell, Manager of Sports Medicine for Carolinas Healthcare System, works with Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools to ensure safety when it comes to concussions and other injuries. The partnership, going on five years, includes placing certified athletic trainers at 19 schools and requiring all student athletes to take a baseline impact test. If a student does get a head injury, there's a way to compare before and after the hit.
Caldwell said so far, this school year 140 concussions have been reported at 19 schools. State law requires a student be immediately pulled from the game or practice when a concussion is suspected, even if the student says he or she is okay. The student will only be allowed to gradually return to play after several days, and a doctor's note is required for permission if a concussion has been diagnosed.
Caldwell said a culture of trust and caring is a big factor in making sure students stay healthy. "Even if a student athlete doesn't tell you," she said, "Someone in the locker room will."
If a student does suffer a concussion or takes a hard hit, Caldwell said rest is part of recovery. That means no video games, no cellphones, and no homework so the brain has time to heal.