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EUGENE, Ore. - Under the Friday night lights, football players make big plays, enjoy the roar of the crowd - and suffer some punishing blows.
There is a growing realization at all levels of play that head injuries sustained during football games and practice can have lasting impacts on a player's life.
Dr. Michael Koester of Eugene recently won the 2013 award of merit from the National Federation of State High School Associations for his work helping high schools keep their athletes safe.
Koester is a sports medicine doctor at Slocum in eugene, where he runs the Slocum Sports Concussion program.
Through his work with the National Federation of State High School Associations, Koester helped shape the guidelines and procedures for when an athlete is suspected of having a concussion, as well as developing a concussion education program for coaches.