Arizona leading nation in protecting student athletes from concussions

CHANDLER, AZ - Imagine being hit so hard, you black out!

"We went helmet to helmet," explained Hamilton High School senior Coner Posz. "He didn't get the effect but I sure did."

Football is in Coner's blood. That's why it's hard for him to be watching from the bleachers instead of joining his varsity teammates on the practice field.

"I started feeling light-headed I felt really wheezy," he said.

Days ago, Coner suffered what team doctors call a mild concussion. He joins the nearly 3-million high school players sidelined each year for sports related head injuries.

"We were doing sprints and I couldn't do it anymore because my head was killing me," Posz said.

"That's the risk you run while playing this sport," expressed Hamilton High School junior Sloan Anderson. He isn't suiting up for practice today either.

"Played the rest of the game. Next morning woke up had a bunch of vomiting a lot of nausea," Anderson said sadly.

He was feeling symptoms from his third football concussion since 8th grade.

"I wouldn't look back on this and I wouldn't regret a minute of it," Anderson smiled.

He's now watching and waiting while doctors decide whether he'll ever again play a sport he loves.
"It's a problem no question about it," agreed Hamilton High School Head Football Coach Steve Belles.

He's led the Hamilton Huskies to six Divison 5 state championships. 

A title, however, he's most proud of is Arizona becoming the first state in the country to pass a law which helps protect young athletes from concussions and other traumatic brain injuries.

"If you lose your helmet you've got to come out a play," argued Coach Belles.

In a push to make the sport safer, Hamilton High began testing players two year prior to Governor Jan Brewer signing our states concussion law.

The new rule requires athletes to sign a form stating that they received educational information about concussions and requires permission from a medical professional that the athlete is cleared before returning to play.
"It's been a Godsend for us," Coach Belles explained. "Because it really shows where kids are and how long they need to be out and truly heal that brain."

 A tough lesson hitting home for Coner Posz.

"I think I'll start wrapping up more," Posz said reluctantly. "I won't use my head directly. I'll start going more shoulder pad to shoulder pad."

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