ARLINGTON (CBS 11 NEWS) – The pressure to play hard is the norm for so many young athletes. Yet sometimes, the intensity of the game can push students too far, leading to a serious injury like a concussion.

Zakiayyah Terrell’s son was recently hurt on a football field. “The initial reaction is that of concern and fear,” she said. “I’m teaching him it’s not about who you get out there and hurt, you know, get out there and play your hardest — but make sure you’re playing safe.”

Even with that kind of good advice, parents can’t always prevent injuries. That’s where Dr. Jacob Resch, an assistant professor at the University of Texas at Arlington, hopes to change the game. He is two years into a long-term study on 2,600 student athletes at Pantego Christian Academy and DeSoto ISD. Some of those students have had a serious brain injury.

The study includes students who play all kinds of sports. “If you look at, say, men’s basketball and women’s basketball, women actually have an equal, if not increased risk of concussion than males,” Dr. Resch said.

According to Dr. Resch, an athlete’s balance can be off in the 3 to 5 days after a concussion. His research work includes a machine that looks at how a student sees, listens and also feels with their feet, in order to stay balanced. Also, a computer test addresses memory skills.

Doctors with Texas Health Resources and UT Southwestern are also taking part in the study. Down the road, Dr. Resch hopes this work benefits young athletes and more. “Whether they’re middle school, pee wee sport athletes, high school athletes, college athletes, professional athletes, there’s so much more we need to know about it in order to ensure the best care possible is delivered to these individuals that suffer this injury,” he said.

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