JACLYN DRISCOLL

A 2015 state law required high schools to develop concussion response procedures to protect student-athletes from further injury, but smaller schools may be at a disadvantage.

During a water polo match two years ago, Katie Price took an elbow to her right eye. She says she immediately knew something was wrong. “I realized I’d gotten hit, and I was yelling for my coach,” says the 17-year-old. She instantly began to cry, not just because of the pain that set in, but the shock of the entire ordeal. A doctor confirmed she had suffered a concussion.

Memory loss is one of many side effects she has dealt with since her injury freshman year at Metea Valley High School in Aurora.

“Most people can remember very basic things,” says Katie. “I can’t.”

Lori Price, Katie’s mother, wasn’t initially that concerned by her daughter’s diagnosis. She thought it would take about a week before her daughter healed. But Katie’s injury was severe. It not only ended her athletic career, it also strained her academic performance.

“She’s not getting the grades she used to get,” Lori says. “She’s still doing really well, but she has to work really hard for that.”

Reported head injuries in high school sports are on the rise in Illinois, according to numbers from the Illinois High School Association (IHSA). The steady increase means coaches and athletic trainers are recognizing more injuries and keeping students from returning to play, say sports medicine experts.

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