INDIANAPOLIS — Concussions have become one of the most hot button issues surrounding the sport of football over the last few years. Even at the youth level, awareness to protect players is ramping up, and as a symbol for those ongoing efforts, a west side boy was honored as a Riley Colts Coin Toss Kid recently after having suffered multiple concussions.
Thomas Strole, 13, plays as part of Ben Davis’ youth football league and in a four week span, suffered two concussions. But it’s been the research and education that his mother, Stephanie, says will allow him to play again next season.
“I think from my perspective of having a young kid in football is that the awareness is key. Because kids get hit all the time, and the hits start getting hard, and unless a kid in the past had blurry vision and can’t get up, if the kid says ‘I’m okay,’ they go back in. Now, I think the key with all the research is the awareness and the adults that coach these younger kids know that when a kid takes a hit it very likely can be a concussion,” says Stephanie.
It was Thomas’ doctor, Riley concussion specialist and Ben Davis High School physician, suggested him for the coin toss honor, and Stephanie said Thomas enjoyed the opportunity.
“It was pretty awesome,” she said. “We got to ride in a limo downtown and got to share that with his siblings. Then as the game got going he was really excited. He got to throw the football around with the defensive coordinator and got to try on a Super Bowl ring. He shook Reggie Wayne’s hand at the coin toss and Pat McAfee. He’d love to be an NFL player some day.”
Being a big Texas fan as well, Stephanie said her son was thrilled to get a chance to pat Cleveland Browns’ backup quarterback Colt McCoy, a Texas alum, on the shoulder and helmet.