High school concussions are on the rise among Missouri teens.
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High school concussions are on the rise among Missouri teens.

Date: December 15, 2014
By: Katie Hynes
State Capitol Bureau

A study by the University of North Carolina found that eight high school athletes nationwide had died from playing football in 2013 and one of those athletes was from Tipton, Missouri.
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Wrap: Tipton High School player Chad Stover died during a football playoff game after receiving a hard hit to the head.

The number of high school student athletes who will suffer from a concussion continue to be on the rise in Missouri.

More than six hundred athletes nationwide suffered a concussion during the 2011 to the 2012 school year.

The Missouri State High School Athletic Association says this trend is not unexpected.

The association is an association of high school athletic departments.

It has studied how many brain injuries high school athletes receive and provides classes coaches can take to learn about concussions.

The association's communications director Jason West says the increase in concussions is due to the publics greater knowledge of the symptoms and effects of concussions. 

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Description: "Numbers are increasing because people are recognizing those more and more. Concussions are becoming more recognizable, their not just kind of, I don't want to say shoved under the rug, but people know what they are."

Missouri law requires all high school athletes to read and sign a form about concussions prior to the start of the season.

The law also requires a person who is hurt to wait 24 hours before getting put back in, and a health professional must sign off their approval for the athlete to play again.

Columbia House member Chris Kelly was against the law.

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Description: "Virtually every time the legislature seeks to give more, to impose more regulations onto the schools they do so for political, not educational reasons."

Kelly says Missouri lawmakers should not get involved in areas that are unfamiliar to them.

Kelly says since lawmakers don't know how to conduct a school, they should leave governing decisions up to school districts.

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Description: "And I in general, oppose the idea of the legislature attempting to regulate public school activity."

Even the high school association does not have set requirements for their members.

Instead the association provides courses for coaches about the dangers of concussions and how to spot them.

These classes are provided to all high schools who belong to the organization but are not mandatory.

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Description: "To be able to regulate and, and cut down the number and, and bring those numbers closer together is, kind of unrealistic."

The Centers for Disease Control defines a concussion as a traumatic brain injury caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that can change the way your brain normally works.

A concussion can effect an athlete for a number of days or weeks depending on how serious the injury is.

In order to avoid serious repercussions from a brain injury the Missouri Health Department recommends athletes abstain from activity for as long as their doctor recommends. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control athletes who play football are the most susceptible to concussions.

Reporting from the state Capitol, I'm Katie Hynes.