A recent national study by The JAMA Network is sparking change in the ArkLaTex after 110 out of 111 brains of former NFL players tested positive for the traumatic brain injury known as CTE.
Also included in the study were 14 brains from high school football players, 3 of which also tested positive.
Haughton High School head football coach Jason Brotherton says this number may not be as high, but it's still frightening.
"We'll go full pads in practice less than five times. It's shorts pretty much every day. You still have helmets and shoulder pads on, but you're not getting the big hits that you were 20 years (ago). Every practice was like a game," said Brotherton.
Brotherton says he has adopted safer ways for players to tackle and uses top of the line helmets, one notch below what the pros use.
Every high school coach is given a thorough guide on how to deal with concussions says, Brotherton. He says he relies on the knowledge and expertise of his training staff and the medical professionals on the sidelines.
"I know that as a coach, I don't want to make that call," said Brotherton. "I hand that player over to my trainer and he's in charge. If he tells me he can't play, he can't play. If he tells me he's good to go then I take his word on that."
With former Haughton players like NFL quarterback Dak Prescott now in the big leagues, Brotherton says he believes those statistics will get better now that the game is changing.
"If you take the group that's playing right now, like take Dak's group, I think if you study that age of players at the age of 50, you're not going to see as many cases of that or not as severe because football has adapted," said Brotherton. "The things we do now are different than what we did 10 years ago."
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