NAMPA -- Those who pushed the new Idaho law aimed at protecting kids from concussions and serious head injuries say it's working.
That new law, which went into effect just seven months ago, requires concussion education for parents, coaches, and players, and prevents possibly concussed athletes from re-entering games until they're cleared by a medical professional.
We talked to one father who says the new law, and new awareness, helped preserve his son's long-term health.
Cameron Bonds is just a sophomore at Skyview High School, but he's already had a few concussions. "It's really kind of hard, just to go through," he said.
After he sustained a concussion playing football in 8th grade, his parents decided to never let him play that sport again. It was double tough for Cameron because his dad is also a football coach at Skyview High, and he's been around the sport forever.
"It was truly one of the sports that I really loved, especially growing up around coach," said Cameron."It just gets to you, and once you get that taken away from you, it just takes out a piece of your heart."
Cameron still plays basketball, another sport he's sustained a concussion in, although he plays with head protection and a mouthpiece.
"You gasp for breath a little bit, every time he touches the ball," said his dad, Eric Bonds. "But, on the other side of that, as a coach, 'You gotta get out there and you gotta play.' And he plays hard all the time."
Matt Kaiserman with Saint Luke's Concussion Clinic, says Cameron's story can be a positive one. That's not because of the injuries, but because it shows that more coaches, parents, and even players, are now aware of the signs of concussions and how to deal with them.
"It's at the forefront of peoples' minds," said Kaiserman. "People are actually actively seeking out resources now. Six months ago that was kind of unheard of."
"Is it hurting the games? No," said Bonds. "I think it's helping the games. I look at my son. And if we'd have just said, 'OK, go back in there.' There's no telling if he gets another hit, there's no telling what could happen."
And what about Cameron? His dad says if he gets one more concussion he won't allow Cameron to play sports at all. "For me and my wife, we want him to be able to live a long and healthy life."
Cameron says giving up sports all together would just be heartbreaking, but at the same time he'd understand why it was necessary. It's what Kaiserman himself did. After starring at Skyview, he gave up a promising career at BSU because of a serious concussion.
If you want more information on the dangers of concussions in young athletes, there's an event you should know about. Coming up Saturday, Saint Luke's is hosting a free screening of the Documentary 'Head Games,' followed by a discussion panel featuring local experts.
Doctors, athletic trainers, and former BSU and NFL players will be speaking.
It starts at 6 p.m. at the Egyptian Theatre in downtown Boise. It's free but an RSVP is appreciated. Just call 381-9205.