Oregon’s ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’: Concussion investigation highlights role of athletic trainers

Oregon public high schools with athletic trainers are better able to identify athletes with concussions and reduce overall injury rates. Over a two-year period, there were 566 football concussion evaluations at schools with athletic trainers and 34 at schools without trainers, according to an analysis of records by InvestigateWest, Pamplin Media Group and Reveal of records from 119 high schools.

Rattling the data: Concussion investigation gleans lessons from public documents

A key finding of the yearlong investigation was that student athletes in Oregon get more frequent and more thorough medical evaluations for concussions at schools that employ athletic trainers. Schools with athletic trainers reported twice as many possible concussions per student athlete as did schools without a professional trainer. Football players at schools with trainers were more than three times as likely to be kept out of play until medically cleared.

Hawaii goes all-in on healing concussions: Athletic trainers placed in every high school

Hawaii is the only U.S. state to ensure that at least two athletic trainers work at every public high school. High schools that have athletic trainers are much more likely to identify and treat concussions than schools without them, according to studies and an analysis by Pamplin Media Group, InvestigateWest and Reveal.

Student athletes aren’t the only ones getting concussions — and needing classroom help

Due to three tragic cases showing the impact of recurrent concussions on the sports field, many states now have protections for kids in sports. But often forgotten are the kids off the field. In today’s story, InvestigateWest and Pamplin Media Group explore four programs that provide brain injury education for the teachers and school staff who help kids in the classroom.

Oregon schools fall behind on returning concussed students to classroom

When her six-year-old son Westen suffered a fall in September leading to a concussion, Stephanie Shimp-Taylor turned to her school for help. In need of accommodations for her son, Shimp-Taylor found herself under pressure for her son’s low attendance. Although Oregon law has measures in place to support student athletes, it’s often up to schools to fill in the gaps in the classroom for non-athletes. Oregon is offering an online course for educators called “In The Classroom After Concussion.”

A Painful Pendulum

For Sue Casey, wife of former football player Randy Casey, the link between concussion, her husband’s future behavior, and his eventual death will also never be certain. But it’s one that she attributes to the numerous concussions he suffered in his early career. Such risks to young athletes are mostly unexplored. And as reporter Kerry Eggers writes, “Although their stories typically don’t make headlines, they — and their families — are left wondering about how all those collisions on the gridiron impacted the rest of their lives.”

Unanswered Questions: Grieving parents wonder about the impact of their son’s concussion

Hunter Holmes, an active teen and the goalkeeper for Redmond High School’s soccer team suffered a life-changing blow to the head. Less than two months later, he committed suicide. Hunter’s grieving parents will never know the reason he took his own life. But they work to promote teen suicide and concussion awareness in tandem.