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Improving high school football safety in Oklahoma

Jenks adds to concussion preventative protocol

Thursday morning, after the first of two 1-hour practice sessions, Jenks High School head athletic trainer Michael Catterson addressed the football team.

"Varsity guys: I need to see you on the second floor with your iPhones," Catterson stated. "If you don't have one, borrow somebody's. You need to do your concussion test."

Which upon first hearing this, one may wonder, "What does an iPhone have to do with concussions?" In 2013, SWAY Medical, a company based out of Tulsa, received FDA approval on an iPhone application. The app's purpose: Create a personal benchmark in balance and reflexes. And should a student-athlete's mark fall below their personal standard, it's likely due to a brain injury. Most likely, it's a concussion.

Catterson implemented this SWAY app into Jenks High School's repertoire of concussion testing approximately 18 months ago.

And it isn't just trying to prevent the long-term damage of concussions. For student-athletes dealing with concussion-like symptoms, it can make life much more challenging in the classroom.

"Certainly if they've been diagnosed with a concussion, there are certain protocols that we take to try and heal that," said longtime head football coach Allan Trimble.

"One of which is not really trying to concentrate and focus; and being in bright light or have a lot of noise. There's just some ways that we work together not only as teachers and coaches, but as everybody; doctors to make sure they heal up properly."

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