Over the last 10 years, new research and medical breakthroughs have proven the serious, and sometimes frightening impacts of a concussion.
The old mentality for most athletes who suffered such a head injury while playing sports was, "I'm fine -- get me back out on the field as quickly as possible."
It was far too quickly in some cases, but those days are over.
And The Center Foundation in Bend, along with Central Oregon schools, is helping to lead a culture of change.
At high school sports events, it isn?t just coaches and parents who have a watchful eye.
?We can be there at the time of the injury, make sure it's managed correctly,? said Athletic Trainer Andrew Traut. ?And then we follow that athlete through their entire treatment protocol, their return to play.?
Trainers say even with their wealth of experience, and more information available to the public than ever about the severity of injuries, telling a competitive high school athlete to take it easy isn't always an easy sales pitch.
?It's definitely a challenge," Traut said. "You have to do some convincing a lot of the times, with both athletes and often times with parents when you're dealing with younger athletes, high school-age.?
Even when it comes to one of the most talked about and potentially dangerous injuries around: concussions.
But if you think concussions only happen on the football field, think again.
"On the first lap, my teammate accidentally crashed into me and I fell over,? Bend High senior Taylor Deems said.
Deems says she fell in love with Nordic skiing her sophomore year, and for two-plus seasons, she competed injury-free.
Then, during a race at Hoodoo, a violent crash changed everything.
"I may have blacked out -- I don't remember a lot,? Deems said. ?I was down for a few minutes, at least, that I don't remember.?
Deems says when she regained her senses, the feeling in her legs was gone. And with the crash happening in an isolated part of the course, no trainers or coaches were nearby to see what had happened, so a friend carried her off the course.
Deems then reacted the way most athletes do.
?I was very stubborn,? Deems said. ?I regained feeling in my legs, sort of, and pushed myself to finish the race.?
What Deems didn't realize was that she had suffered a concussion.
?If you really step and say, 'What is a concussion?' A concussion is a mild-traumatic brain injury,? said Dr. Sondra Marshall.
At The Center Foundation in Bend, Marshall specializes in concussions and works with high school athletes who are recovering from the injury.
And she says the hard truth is that no helmet, mouthpiece or other piece of equipment can prevent them from happening.
?A concussion is an acceleration, deceleration injury,? Marshall said. ?So the brain is moving at a certain speed -- and all of a sudden, it stops. And when it stops, it goes back and forth against that skull.?
?What we tell parents is, there's a chemical reaction in the brain and a chemical crisis or a metabolic crisis depleting the brain of needed energy to do all the things a brain has to do,? she explained.
It didn't take long for Deems to experience this herself.
?I noticed I was getting very dizzy. I was sensitive to the light,? Deems said. ?I had a constant migraine. The passing period was so much louder than it used to be. I had trouble eating. I had trouble sleeping. I just wasn't myself.?