Arizona's high school football limiting contact practice

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX  -- Arizona schools are tackling the problem of student athlete concussions with some new regulations. Coaches at Arizona high schools are now limited in the amount of contact players have during practice.

The rule specifies that no more than half of football practice can be contact practice in the pre-season, and no more that one-third of practice time be contact during regular season.

14-year old Aaron Ledford, a sophomore at Mountain Pointe High School, suffered a concussion after his helmet was knocked off in practice. "I didn't know where I was, " said Aaron.

Aaron's mom doesn't want to limit her kids in life, but says she does worry. "It's scary as a mom to have your kids out there and know they can be hurt." said Debra Ledford.

Aaron's older sister suffered several concussions when she played soccer. "Each one of them was progressively worse, where I don't think she should play anymore, " said Debra.

Stories like this have prompted the Arizona Interscholastic Association to enforce the new regulations, passed last March.

It's also now mandatory that student athletes in Arizona read the "Barrow Brainbook", written by a Barrow Neurological Institute specialist here in Phoenix. The book helps young athletes understand concussions and the warning signs of a head injury.

So far, 180,000 student athletes in Arizona have undergone the course. Specialists will also be available by video to coaches and trainers on the field for any consulting in real-time. This will be a big asset for rural high schools in the state.

But it's not just high school athletes they are targeting. Barrow Neurological Institute, the Arizona Cardinals and the Arizona Interscholastic Association created a video game for kids ages 8-12.

The game is not only entertaining, but teaches kids about the warning signs of a concussion.

The Fiesta Bowl funded the creation of the game, which is set to be available for iPhones and androids soon.