Most high school athletes are tough, and their competitive nature means they want to keep playing even when they're hurt -- but those good intentions can end in bad injuries when it comes to concussions.
Minnesota has been a leader in concussion awareness, but the American Academy of Neurology says more must still be done because new research conducted by the organization shows that being pulled from games sooner and spending longer stints on the sideline is one of the biggest factors in recovery time.
Tyler Joles is a three-sport star at Brooklyn Center High School, and he's been training hard for the upcoming spring seasons. Yet while he has a huge following of fans, he's also being watched for a different reason.
"Everyone said it was like thunder struck when my head hit," he recalled.
So far, Joles has had four concussions. A fifth could end his athletic career altogether.
"I've had times where I was really dizzy and I just didn't really say anything," he admitted.
That's something experts say needs to stop. In fact, the AAN is now recommending that players be pulled from games if there is even a suspicion of a head injury.
Minnesota already has a strict concussion law requiring athletes to come out of games if they show concussion symptoms. It also mandates concussion training for coaches and requires a doctor's approval to get back in the game.
Even so, athletic trainers -- like Tom Iverson -- say navigating through another change in concussion standards is difficult.
"So much has happened since 2004," he said. "That even needs to be updated."
That's why Brooklyn Center High School's athletic director, Nate Gautsch, is trying to get ahead of the curve by keeping a clinic staffed with doctors inside the school in order to help athletes.
"Time-wise, there is no appointment necessary," he said. "It can be taken care of immediately."
Researchers say each concussion is different, but athletes who experience dizziness will need a month or more of recovery time.
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