December 04, 2019
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Maine schools take extra steps to help prevent concussions

Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Thornton Academy's Isaac Ofielu avoids a tackle from Portland High School's Benjamin Stasium in the Class A state football championship game in Portland in 2018.

There’s no question that concussions are a possibility when playing sports.

With championship weekend in Maine beginning, some schools are taking extra steps to make sure their kids are safe when they take the field.

With rain pouring outside, Bonny Eagle practiced inside Friday.

Even indoors, students wear their helmets for safety, to prevent an injury like a concussion.

“It’s obviously scary, but I’ve learned when and how to dodge a hit, or go into a hit,” Bonny Eagle senior Zach Maturo said.

Athletic officials say preventing concussions goes beyond a proper tackle form, and they have protocols in place.

At Bonny Eagle, they say training athletes to know the symptoms, and feel comfortable talking about them, is vital.

“Educating kids on the symptoms, and what they may feel, and reporting as soon as possible is a huge factor,” Bonny Eagle Athletic Trainer Jenna McCurdy said.

A Thornton Academy, school officials are taking it a step further with “smart helmets.”

“The helmet will log all hits that the helmet takes. There’s sensors throughout the helmet. on the sides, on the top of the helmet,” Thornton Academy Assistant Football Coach Kirk Agreste said.

Using the data, they are able to track where players are being hit, and how hard of a hit they are taking.

They say this information will change how they approach games, including Saturday’s championship game against Bonny Eagle.

Both school leaders say they want kids to be able to play football but want them to do it safely.

“You have to listen to your body. If something doesn’t feel right, if something doesn’t seem right, then you need to approach a coach or athletic trainer,” Thornton Academy Athletic Trainer Gary Stevens said.

The two rivals compete for the Class A title Saturday at 11 a.m.



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