NFL commits to bettering player safety, local coach and doctor react

By: Kevin Hurd Email
By: Kevin Hurd Email

(WEAU) -- "Anytime you get a chance to see your kids play sports, I think it's always special for me," said Kip Knez, a father of a Chippewa Falls freshman.

He loves to watch his son Aaron on the field or on the court. He is an all-around athlete that wears many uniforms through the year, involved in sports like basketball, baseball, and football.

He says the benefits of sports outweigh the risk, but still worries about his son's safety.

"I think anytime your kids play in contact sports you worry about knee injuries, head injuries," he said.

Football has gotten attention, in particular because of head injuries.

Dr. Douglas Auleta with Mayo Clinic Health System sees patients who have been injured in football and is at games to help when injuries happen.

He says while we know about concussions, it is sub-concussions where there are still questions.

"We know there's a relationship with repetitive trauma to your brain," he said. "What we don't know is does it take one trauma to cause this or is repetitive high level trauma, or multiple sub-concussive hits?"

He says students need to be honest with themselves, parents and coaches if they are injured. He adds parents need to realize there is no way to totally prevent an injury.

"Every level is a little different but we try to emphasize the same thing: preparation, technique, and conditioning," he said.

"What we do know is a helmet helps for football but we know even though they're good for football, no study has proven they can stop a concussion."

Chuck Raykovich agrees, having been a coach for 38 years.

"If you look at the equipment, coaching techniques and the rules the game is definitely different than it was 20 years ago," he said.

He says despite the risk all student athletes face on the field or the court, they are in good hands.

"I'm gonna speak up for most coaches, the coaches I know are all ethical and they are all aware the student's health is number one," he added.

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