New concerns for parents about sports concussions and head injuries

For many parents, school sports are a difficult subject. They don't want to stop their children from playing but also have a lot of concerns about traumatic head injuries. Marci Morrison said a lot of attention is focused on football players but she has considered the hard hits that can occur in several sports.

"The more you think about it - it's not just football. It's soccer - they do just as much running around and bumping into each other," said Morrison.

In rare cases, helmet to helmet hits can be fatal. A football player died in Western New York on Monday and two years ago Phoenix student Ridge Barden died after a seemingly normal play. At the Upstate Concussion Center, director Brian Rieger believes minor brain injuries have been a problem in school sports for decades. Rieger is encouraged by the policies many schools have put in place to prevent potentially concussed players from going back into games.

"Our focus is really on making sure that when a concussion occurs, we get that player off the field, we get them evaluated and we don't let them go back until it's safe," said Rieger.

Rieger added that helmets can provide protection but they are not perfect.

"Part of the problem is that the brain is floating within the skull. So no matter how good the helmet is - once the skull stops, the brain keeps moving," said Rieger.

Many parents say they want to wait and be sure their kids are ready to play sports safely. As Chrissy Fahey played with her two young sons, she said the risk of head injury was something she would want to consider when her kids were old enough to play team sports.

"Assess how the program is run, how the coaches are, how they handle the kids, that sort of thing," said Fahey.