INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indiana parents are asking if their school is among those that reported the number of concussions from sports.
Asking schools to report to the state was prompted by the I-Team 8 investigation into football helmets earlier this year. Now there’s a move to track more information.
The fall football season is over, so Monday night I-Team 8 reported the numbers: more than 1,200 concussions in Indiana high schools from all sports. Football had the most at 830. Alarming? Not really when you consider that’s only half the story because only half the schools reported.
I-Team 8’s investigation in May prompted immediate action from the Indiana High School Athletic Association. They sent a letter asking each high school to voluntarily report concussions in all sports.
Of the 410 member schools, less than half responded — 189.
“Disappointment. It’s the first year, but disappointment,” State Senator Jim Merritt said.
After seeing I-Team 8’s original report, Senator Merritt asked the high school association to step in.
“When we first talked and you uncovered this issue I really had no idea we would have that much evidence of concussions,” Merritt said.
QUESTIONING ALL SIX STATE FOOTBALL CHAMPS
In the first three months of tracking, there were more than 1,200 concussions in Indiana high schools in 17 sports. Schools from A-Z — Adams Central to Zionsville — reported. Some had just one concussion. Others like South Bend Adams had 39.
I-Team 8 sifted through the list. Of the six high schools that just won state championships only 2 of the 6, Tri-West and Rensselaer Central, reported concussion numbers. So, I-Team 8 contacted the others asking why? Cathedral said they “waited for the end of the fall season…for accurate numbers.” New Palestine sent I-Team 8 their numbers — 11 concussions. Ben Davis is checking with their trainer. I-Team 8 never heard back from North Vermillion.
The reporting system itself is putting Indiana at the forefront. Senator Merritt gives a lot of credit to the Indiana High School Athletic Association.
“I believe the state of Indiana is the first of all 50 states to have a reporting system so we need to give it time because we have half a school year left,” Merritt said.
But if more schools don’t report, Merritt says it may become mandatory.
“If the reporting does not continue to rise percentagely we will look at legislation,” he said.
Merritt is also considering a law to give parents choice, not just the schools.
“I think parents should have the right to select what helmet their child should be wearing in football,” Merritt said.
Some parents have told I-Team 8 right now their school refuses to allow parents to choose.
Once all the numbers are reported, especially from football, there will be the next step. Senator Merritt will draft a letter to the IHSAA asking for changes for next year’s reporting that would include the brand and age of the helmet worn when the concussion happened.
If you’d like to see if your school reported concussions and their specific numbers, see below.