High school football players are getting ready for the upcoming season. Today was the first day they could practice in pads. Coaches and trainers are stressing new concussion rules to their players.
Coaches and trainers say they are strictly abiding by these rules because while winning is great, player safety is their number one priority.
Players at Lee County High School are excited to make big plays this season, but they know that those hits could come with a big price.
"Whether they are dizzy, headache, any types of symptoms of concussions they have to be taken out of the game and they have to be medically examined whether it is by an athletic trainer, certified athletic trainer or by a doctor," said Athletic Trainer Brian Davis.
New state rules force coaches to remove a player from a game immediately if a concussion is suspected. The player must be medically-cleared before returning to action. 17 year old Chad Reynolds got a concussion once and doesn't want to experience it again.
"I was really scared of it, my next time out I was really cautious of how I played," said Long Snapper Chad Reynolds.
Coaches and trainers urge their players to speak up if they experience any concussion symptoms.
"That's one of the things we are trying to prevent is later on in life occurrences for the kids, the second impact syndrome so they won't get hit and have another one while they are already having symptoms from the first one," Davis said.
Georgia Southern University is working to reduce concussion rates. Its Helmet Impact Telemetry System uses sensors to measure the severity of a hit to the head. Its technology that trainers and coaches hope will come to the high school level.
"With helmet technology and everything else hopefully they are decreasing concussions," Davis said.
"They make sure we have the right equipment good quality equipment that is proven to lessen chances of concussions," Reynolds said.
Coaches and trainers say whether you're the star athlete or riding the bench, medical personnel should always be notified if you suffer any concussion symptoms.
Lee County coaches and players say they are excited to start the season injury free as they prepare for their upcoming scrimmage game August 23rd against Americus Sumter High School. Most GISA schools play their first regular season games on August 23rd. Most GHSA schools kick off the following week.