ROCKFORD, Mich. – A new law will directly affect students hitting the practice field for fall sports in West Michigan.
The law puts the responsibility of recognizing a concussion in the hands of the coaches, while also keeping tabs on a player that suffers this kind of injury. If a concussion is suspected, a student player must be pulled out of the game and cannot re-enter a game until cleared by a doctor to play.
The effects of a brain injury dramatically changed the path of one football player from Rockford. During the course of a single season at Rockford High School, Brett Egnatuk suffered an estimated six concussions.
“A couple were minor, and then he had two back-to-back,” said Brett’s mother, Donna Egnatuk. “That’s where the trouble started.”
The trouble became career-ending during his first game as a player for Central Michigan University. After a concussion in the opening minutes of the game, he and the family decided it was time to walk away.
His mother said Brett is fully recovered from his injuries but knows that doesn’t always happen.
For athletes just about to step onto the high school field, concussions will be on the minds of their coaches. It’s now a law.
“Even young kids in high school, close to 50% of kids, particularly the high risk sports are having concussions,” said Dr. W. Christian VandenBerg of Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital in Grand Rapids.