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      High school athletes and parents sign on for new concussion plan

      H igh school football season is right around the corner. M onday , student - athletes from all over northern Michigan will begin to prepare for their first game.

      B ut before players can get on the field they and their parents must sign a new release form that says they understand the policies the school must follow when it comes to concussions.

      " I think everybody is kind of getting the idea that this is a serious thing," Adam Ancel, Petoskey football team athletic trainer said.

      I n late July, the state passed a new sports concussion law.

      P art of the legislation deals with making parents and students accountable when dealing with the concussion policy by making them sign a form.

      L ocal athletic departments say this simple step clears any gr a y areas in the policy.

      " I guess there's a situation where a parent could want their kids to play even though it may not be safe for that student-athlete to go out there ," Gary Hice, Petoskey High School Athletic Director said. "S o we are requiring that a doc have that power ."

      T he policy itself was implemented in 2010 in the wake of studies indicating that head injuries in sports could lead to serious health complications later in life.

      A topic that is a natural concern for Petoskey's running back Chase Ledingham and his father Dan.

      " We love to see our kids in high school have a great time in sports, but really this is for the long run," Dan Ledingham said. "This is their life, you're just really beginning your life at this point so it is by far one the most important thing and I worry about it as a parent watching."

      T his father and son duo says this shift in policy couldn't have come at a better time. A nd even though these new rules won't stop a hard hit , the Ledinghams still acknowledge football can be a dangerous sport.

      " Through anything there is some risk , but with the new safety concerns and everybody watching out for it , you know we have our trainers and doctors on staff , y ou know what's really tightened up and it's not been a big thing in your mind ," Chase Ledingham said