(03/19/13) - For the first time in years, there are new guidelines for treating brain injuries to high school athletes in this country.
This week, the American Academy of Neurology revised its guidelines on evaluating athletes who show signs of a concussion.
Previously, a concussion grading system was used. Now, the academy recommends evaluating athletes on an individual basis.
The biggest change - a recommendation to immediately remove any athlete with a suspected concussion from a game or practice and keep them out of action until they're assessed by a doctor.
This news comes as one Mid-Michigan student who suffered a concussion works to raise awareness about the dangers.
A year ago, Alex Sprague was a Corunna High School junior and softball player who hoped to take her passion for the sport to the collegiate level.
Then she was thrown a curve ball.
While sitting in the dugout, Alex was hit in the face by a flyball.
Doctors diagnosed her with a severe concussion - putting her back on the bench for months, and possibly years.
"When you hear about concussions, you don't really hear about how long it could last. You think a couple weeks, but I've been 11 months exactly," Sprague said.
"I think it was very hard for her, she was a very dedicated athlete and very successful and it's been very hard for her not just not to play, but not playing with her team," said Nicole Norris, athletic director.
Sprague has turned her unfortunate experience into an educational opportunity.
After months of research and work, she'll host a presentation Tuesday night at the high school, where she'll share her story and educate people on the effects of brain injuries.
"I don't think people understand how it affects you every second of every day. It's not just a sports injury, it effects you in every day life and you need your brain for everything, so it just doesn't keep you from playing sports," Sprague said.
"That tells you a lot about the personality of Alex because she is such a positive person," Norris said.
Alex even recruited a doctor from the University of Michigan to assist in the presentation. It is open to the public starting at 6:30.
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