Collision Course: A young athlete's battle with concussions - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Collision Course: A young athlete's battle with concussions

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GRAND MEADOW, Minn. (KTTC) --  All week Tyler Sloan has been preparing for Friday night by handling Quarterback duties under center, and throwing like he was born to do it.  However, come Friday night all he can do is watch his State Champion Superlarks.

"It sucks not being able to go out there hit people and get hit.  It sounds stupid, but getting hit can actually be fun," says Sloan.

Concussions have pushed Tyler to the role of scout team quarterback.

"We watch film on the weekends, get the scouting report for the next team we are going to play," explains Sloan.

It's a new reality that is tough on Tyler and his head coach because Coach Gary Sloan is also Tyler's father.

"You know I love football and Tyler loves football," says Gary Sloan but, "I've told people before I love my son more than I love football."

After his 3rd concussion in five years forced Tyler to miss two weeks of school he decided his days of playing with his teammates were over.

"We're used to him always padding up with us, but now he can't really do too much with us," tells teammate Wyatt Richardson.

Each concussion became worse than the last one, "Nausea, headaches, sensitivity to sound, light, the littlest thing, you're mad," tells Tyler.

Concussions eventually forced Tyler into the "Dark Room" treatment.

"I don't really remember, but it was about five days to a week," explains Tyler Sloan, "They recommend being in a dark room, no lights no sounds, just to hear your brain."

The goal of the "dark room" treatment is to decrease brain activity creating a "cast" for the mind.

"The dark room is sort of the bottom line where they really should be at.  This is what they want, and we hope that this gives them a better indication that the more activity you do the slower this process goes," says Jake Hesse at Olmsted Medical Center's Sports Medicine and Athletic Performance Facility.

Tyler's experience has had a direct impact on Coach Sloan too.

"We use the phrase a lot keep your head out of football, and that includes when you blocking, and that includes tackling, and that includes everything that you do," says Gary Sloan.

Despite having state-of-the-art helmets with proper fit, Coach Sloan knows that what happened to his son can happen to any player.

"You know, no helmet is going to prevent concussions every helmet manufacturer will tell you that.  You know, but sometimes concussions are still going to happen," says Gary Sloan.

Now under the Friday night lights, Tyler watches on as his team does what he no longer can.
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