KUNA -- With the eyes of the sporting world on the Olympics, it's easy to forget that football season is just a few weeks away. New this year is the implementation of Idaho’s concussion law, a law aimed at educating coaches, athletes and parents.
Practice starts as early as next week for some high school football players. And for a lot of athletes that means the beginning of a new push to avoid concussions.
McKayla Packwood was one of the 12 athletes at Kuna High School who suffered a concussion in 2011.
"Basketball, I never thought I would get a concussion, but taking a charge and I smacked my head on the floor, and that was really dangerous," said McKayla.
That concussion left her on the sideline for half of her junior season. Now, for her senior project, McKayla set a goal to help other students avoid what she went through. She's fundraising to get the concussion software at her school full time.
"I want to get awareness out there about how serious concussions are, and I don't think anyone else should have to go through what I went through just to find out how important it is," said McKayla.
McKayla's efforts caught the attention of St. Luke’s which decided to take awareness and education to another level.
In addition to Kuna's 200 or so fall athletes, St. Luke's is offering free baseline testing to all athletes in the Treasure Valley area. That test will give schools a point of reference when an athlete hits their head in a game.
"The software is an evaluation tool,” said Kip Dribnak, Kuna High's Athletic Director. “It's not a cure-all and it's not what we're going to use solely. It's a tool to help us be able to identify who has concussions."
Matt Kaiserman, a former Boise State player whose career ended because of this concussion, now works for St. Luke's in concussion education. He believes in this software and knows its value.
"To help kids play safer and also return to the game safer before they injure themselves further," said Kaiserman.
Dribnak will use the software to keep kids out of harm’s way.
"The second concussion is the one that does the most damage," said Dribnak. "So if allowed to return to play when they shouldn't be there, that's when they're at the highest risk.”
Kaiserman and St. Luke's are serious about the offer to test the athletes in the Treasure Valley. If you want more information on how to make that happen contact Kaiserman directly at (208) 381-9205 or email@example.com.
If you would like more information about the new concussion legislation and protocol, as well as resources for parents, athletes and coaches, click here.