Student concussion reports up, but treatment improves

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ATLANTA —

Doctors in metro Atlanta say they are seeing more concussion cases among children than ever before -- with some areas up 50 percent -- but children are also getting critical medical help that may prevent severe damage.

Tate Fancher is a sophomore football player at Fellowship Christian School who thought he was in the clear after a big hit.

“I kind of ducked my shoulders a bit. I felt the impact and the pressure,” Fancher told Channel 2’s Linda Stouffer. 

“Honestly, I thought I was going to go back in.”

A follow up cognitive test called “Impact” showed Tate’s brain was actually not functioning at the same level as before the season.

“This is an injury you cannot see and the old philosophy we grew up with of rub dirt on it and go back out there and keep playing doesn’t really apply here,” Tate’s father Don said.

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta said youth concussion calls were up 58 percent year to year in July and up 43 percent in August. The number in September reached 72 percent compared to 2012.

Trainers and experts from Atlanta Medical Center now monitor hits from the sidelines at every Atlanta Public School game.

A state law that took effect in January now requires medical clearance before a student with a concussion can return to the field.

“The thing with a concussion, they aren’t bleeding. Their bones aren’t sticking out every which way. They look OK and they can’t always see they have a slight decrease in cognitive function,” Dr. David Marshall said.

Treatment for Tate included staying home from school and resting without electronics. No video games and limited
texting. He’s being kept off the field until testing shows his brain is back to pre-hit conditions.

Studies show girls are more likely to suffer concussions in sports like soccer, basketball and softball.

Girls also take longer to heal and may have more symptoms after being injured, according to health officials.