Rosemont High School football coach Rick Wanlin feels he has a leg up in concussion care management because of school trainer David Batts, who doubles as a Timberwolves assistant football coach.
Having a full-time trainer is a rarity in California high school sports. Fewer than one-quarter of the state's schools reportedly have them, largely because of the cost.
"We're in a good situation here with our trainer," Wanlin said.
After a Rosemont player suffered a concussion early in the season and was cleared to return to play by his doctor, Batts balked.
The athlete continued to show concussion symptoms after Batts put him through a battery of tests and workouts.
"It's a lot different evaluating a kid in a doctor's office," Wanlin said. "Kids aren't always going to tell the truth because they want to play. But once on the field, a player can't hide from the symptoms."
A decision was made to hold the player out the rest of the season.
"It was not worth the risk," Wanlin said.
Wanlin says those aren't always popular decisions.
He said he decided not to play one of his top seniors in last season's final playoff game against Buhach Colony a week after he had suffered his second concussion of the season against Del Campo.
"He really wanted to play, and during the game his mom came out of the stands and told me to let him play, that he was fine," Wanlin said.
Wanlin ignored her request.
"With concussions now you have to be real cautious," he said. "I love winning and I hate losing, but no win is worth a kid's future."