Football High: Garrett Harper's Story, Part II

The decisions coaches make on the sidelines about returning a concussed player to the game or not can be a "game changer" for that athlete's life.

[male speaker 1] Even for those schools that have trainers and doctors on hand game decisions are not always consistent. [Josh Floyd] Hey D make a play right here. Let's go. [male speaker 1] When star Shiloh running back, Garrett Harper, had his first concussion, it was in one of the most important games of his junior season and at a time when there was less awareness of the dangers of concussions. [noise from players] [male speaker 1] He was hit so hard he had to be helped off the field, but by the second half he was cleared to go back into the game. [Craig Harper] The trainers and doctors evaluated him and checked on him again at halftime and said he could go back in and play. But anytime you see your child injured— you know you're nervous about that, and you want to be sure people are making the right decision and all. [male speaker 2] Garrett's hurting. Garrett's hurting. [male speaker 1] When Garrett got his second concussion this year, Shiloh was already far in the lead. His coaches and trainer decided to hold him out. [Jamie Croley] He's going to be fine. If we could just sit him this series. >>Okay. [Josh Floyd] We had kind of put the game away already so we didn't really want to take any chances. We got together and we just said, "Hey, if the game gets tied again then we'll put him back in there but if not then let's keep him out.
Posted on BrainLine December 10, 2013.

Excerpted from the documentary "Football High." Used with permission from Frontline, PBS. www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline.