Concussions are up during football games, but down during practice according to study

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - There's some good news for high school football players.

Evidence shows the longer a person plays football and the more hits to the head they take, the chance for long-term effects increase.

A recent survey shows the rates of football practice concussions have gone down in recent years.

Eric Iverson is the head coach for the Central Football High School in Rapid City.

"Last couple years we've been doing what's called 'Hawk tackling' technique that the Seattle Seahawks kind of promoted. It's getting the shoulder more involved, and so changing from the old technique of head across the body as opposed to now we're trying to tackle with the shoulder," said Iverson.

But there's also bad news. The study suggests concussions rates during games increased and evidence shows the longer a person plays football and more hits they take, the more long-term effects develop.

Dr. Brain Shelmadine specializes in Sports Medicine at Regional Health.

"What were figuring out more and more is the consequences, and we worry about injuries that happen as kids or teenagers and the long-term effects on our brain as an adult, ultimately I think that is what is changing in our culture," said Shelmadine.

In 2015, all 50 states adopted some form of concussion legislation with minimum return-to-play guidelines.

"Part of the rule changes that have occurred is that we pull you if we have any concern and you don't return to play," said Shelmadine.

Data also showed participation in 11-player football in South Dakota dropped 5.2% over the past three years, according to data from the National Federation of State High School Associations.

'You know football is a tough sport, so if they're on the fence, well I better not because I might get a concussion, and so hopefully we're able to change that and get it back to where it was at," said Iverson.

The study also suggested recurrent concussions across all sports have gone down in recent years.