Missing the trainer: Small and rural schools are least likely to have athletic trainers

High schools with athletic trainers are much more likely to identify and treat concussions than schools without them. Analysis by Pamplin Media Group, InvestigateWest and Reveal shows that out of the 235 public high schools in Oregon, fewer than half have at least one athletic trainer. Nearly 47,000 students, or about 28 percent of students statewide, attend schools that do not have an athletic trainer.

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.

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.”

Software aids in concussion tracking

Software aids in concussion tracking: In competitive Oregon soccer leagues, there is a procedure that inadvertently serves a safety check for concussions. Referees turn in game records to the Oregon Youth Soccer Association, noting things like a substitute for a player with a possible concussion. Software used by OYSA then flags that player as needing medical clearance to return to play.

Checking the blind spot

Jenna Sneva, a competitive skier from Sisters, Oregon, estimated she had 11 concussions before being diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome. Her namesake law – Jenna’s Law – helps protect young athletes competing outside of public schools.