BALTIMORE, Mar. (WBAL) - Maryland's State Board of Education has added more teeth to a policy on brain injuries affecting high school athletes.
It calls, in part, for state high school coaches, trainers and athletic directors to do a better job protecting students on the field.
Schools are well aware of the new policy, and in places like Eastern Tech High School in Baltimore County, they're wasting no time putting what's on paper into action.
"My symptoms really didn't start until, like, four days later. The only thing I had that first night was confusion, and then once I got to the hospital about two hours later, the confusion was gone," Charles Rice said.
Rice is back on the playing field after he suffered a concussion last season.
Coaches from across the state said the new concussion policy is key to helping keep students safe.
"I think the hardest thing is that every year, you read about some person who is injured and have to learn how to read again when they're 24 years old, and that's just a terrible thing. I think I would feel remiss in our duty here if we didn't make sure we fully educate them on how to do it properly," said Eastern Tech High School coach Marc Mesaros.
Coaches and trainers said they know a close call when they see one.
"You know what their personalities are. Their personalities change when they get hit. They don't remember things, even their own name. So when they don't know who I am, obviously, that's a big problem," Eastern Tech High School trainer Amy Magladry said.
At Eastern Tech, athletes have to take an impact concussion test to determine if and when they can return to practice after an injury.
Chuck Trenlter had to take the test last year.
"It'll tell me how severe my injury is. It will tell me how long I have to get back. It'll tell me when I am good to get back on the field," Trentler said.
"If in the season concussions are down and it's still safer and it's still fun, I have no problem with it," athlete Francis Massally said.
The head of county athletics is in charge of enforcing the new state policy.
"For us, it was a matter of making sure they understood the policy and understood why we are doing it. We are taking all of the necessary precautions on and off of the field to make sure our student athletes are safe," said Michael Sye, with Baltimore County schools.