The Friday night lights will shine bright tonight in North Texas as high school teams hit the gridiron for their first games of the season.
Starting this school year, every large public high school in Texas is required to keep track of concussions among student athletes.
At the practice field at Rockwall High School, Mark Henry watches from the sidelines, familiar with the risks his son faces on the field.
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"Sophomore year, at the playoff in Sachse, he took a pretty hard hit with a knee in the head. He never blacked out but he didn't even know where he was at," said Henry.
It happened two years ago and if it happens again this year, the state of Texas wants to know.
The UIL has partnered with UT Southwestern Medical Center to maintain a database of concussions among student athletes at 6A schools in Texas. 6A schools are mandated to report data. 5A and under may volunteer their data.
"Right now, we don't know how often concussions are occurring across the country in most high school and middle school situations. The statistics provided by the CDC really mainly deal with kids reporting to emergency departments across the country and we believe this is quite an underestimate of how many concussions are actually occurring," said Munro Cullum, Phd., neuropsychologist and professor of Psychiatry, Neurology and Neuro Surgery at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
The registry tracks head injuries among boys and girls in 15 to 20 sports, including cheerleading, swimming, even golf.
Other states have also implemented similar registries but this one stands to be the largest in the country, with more than 830,000 student athletes in Texas, said Cullum.
"Over time, we want to be able to look at trends in concussion as there are rule changes, safety procedures implemented. Everyone wants to make sports safer and that's clearly something we want to help with," said Cullum.
To address privacy concerns, officials say the database will contain no information that could identify the injured athlete.