FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) - - A Columbia City High School football player remains in critical condition after getting injured in a Friday night game.
Sam Dailey suffered an acute head injury which caused a blood clot to form on his brain, according to Dr. Jeffrey Kachmann, a neurosurgeon in Fort Wayne. As a result, Dailey had surgery to reduce swelling to his brain.
People familiar with contact sports said head injuries are common but under-educated.
"You get your bell rung, you sit out a play, but you're alright," said John Burrow, who used to play football at Vanderbilt University.
Burrow stopped playing football because he suffered multiple concussions over a short period of time, and one hit in particular made him make the tough decision to hang up his jersey.
"I just took a big hit," Burrow said. "It was one of those hits, you don't get knocked unconscious, you know. It was something that throughout my career wouldn't have called a concussion, but you know it's something where you go back to practice. And maybe 20 minutes later, I took another big one, and I was out. I was unconscious."
Instances such as Burrow's and Dailey's are causing many to make it a priority to educate others about the dangers of head injuries in contact sports.
Jim Keszei said he became passionate about the topic after watching a segment on concussions and realizing he was uninformed. He has two sons who play football and even played himself and said he never knew the signs and symptoms of a head injury and how serious they could be. He now travels around Fort Wayne, partnering with Dr. Kachmann, to educate players, coaches, trainers, and parents on how to spot a head injury and treat it properly.
"To get the information out there, so we don't have a situation where a child was put back in to play when they shouldn't, and we have a catastrophic injury," Keszei said.
Fort Wayne Community Schools require all of their athletes to attend a session about head injuries and concussions before they start their seasons.
In addition, Indiana passed a law that went into effect last year that focuses on head injuries. It requires parents and student athletes to be given information regarding concussions before the season, and it outlines the process before a student can return to the game. However, critics said the law misses middle school and youth sports, and it's important to start the education at a young age.
Even with the law in place, some former athletes believe the enforcement lies with the students.
"There's definitely pressure felt when you miss practice that you're not going to have a spot when you come back," Burrow said.
Likewise, Brandon Walker-Roby who played football for 15 years, including years at Indiana University and in the arena league in Bloomington, said, "I've seen guys lose their spots to injuries."
However, almost everyone familiar with these types of injuries said there comes a time when you have to look at the bigger picture.
"I think guys forget you have life after football, and if an injury is serious enough to where it can affect how you think...it's not worth risking your life," Walker-Roby said.
As for Dailey's injury, Columbia City's football coach, Randy Hudgins said they are optimistic about his recovery.
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