Trainers, docs keep close eye on H.S. footballers

A new law has football players and trainers more cautious about concussions.

Indiana schools are reporting dozens of concussions because of a new law aimed at better protecting student athletes.

The signs and symptoms can be hard to spot, so Eyewitness News spent a Friday night game following team trainers and doctors to see what they are looking for when players take hard hits.

Football is a full-on contact sport. Sometimes the players walk away from a tough hit, sometimes they don't.

"We've been in school five weeks and we've probably had 15 or 20 concussions already," said Zionsville athletic trainer Sandi Byle.

That's why the Zionsville Eagles have athletic trainers like Byle and doctors on the sidelines during every football game, watching what happens after impact.

"Basically what we're looking for, 'How do they get up? Do they have a headache? Are they nauseous? Are they dizzy'," said Byle.

Byle said if she suspects a concussion from how a player acts after a hit, how they answer can tell her more.

"Tell us about where you are? Who you are? What do you remember? Do you remember the hit? Do you remember the score?" explained Byle of the questions she asks players.

If there's a concussion, it's time out for the rest of the game, maybe longer.

"With the new law into effect, they have to be cleared by a physician that is trained in concussion management," said Byle.

That's meant teaching players about how dangerous concussions can be, so they're telling the truth about their symptoms and not just trying to get back into the game.

"They're getting better about self-reporting, which has been really, really hard," Byle said.

That's because these players live to play and compete on a Friday night, under the stadium lights with the cheering fans.

The athletic trainers, however, must think about tomorrow.

"We want them to be healthy 40-year olds. We don't want them to be (physically incapacitated)," said Byle.