Watch CBS News

Plano student-athlete advocates for concussion awareness

Plano student-athlete advocates for concussion awareness
Plano student-athlete advocates for concussion awareness 02:47

PLANO ( — A Plano student-athlete is advocating for greater awareness and caution around concussions after experiencing one herself.

Payton Frank, a middle school volleyball player, knows the risks of her sport all too well. 

"Volleyball is just knocking things away from you," she said. "Things are constantly coming for your head and you're on the floor, so it's going to happen. Most of the people on my team have had more than one concussion."

Last year, the 7th grader was making a dive when she hit her head. 

"I had my hands covering my face because the light was hurting my eyes?" she said. 

"It wasn't apparent to us as her parents that something was wrong until she stood up and started trying to play again," Payton's father Todd Frank said.  "When she started to play again, it looked as though she was a deer in headlights. She just did not seem the same."

 "I played that whole rest of the game and then in the locker room, I started to feel really dizzy and sick," Payton said. "I didn't feel good."

After the game, Payton's mother took her to an emergency room where she was diagnosed with a concussion. She was then referred to a doctor who began treatment. 

New blood test helps evaluate brain injuries 02:47

"The most challenging part is having to sit out," Payton said. "It's hard to follow the protocol because you want to play."

Payton says this is why she believes some student-athletes try to hide injuries. 

"A lot of people don't want to say that they're hurt because it's hard to come back from such a long injury like that," she said. 

She said her doctor emphasized the significance of physical therapy and cautioned her about second impact syndrome, which occurs when someone experiences another head injury before fully recovering from the first one. This syndrome can result in serious brain damage and even death.

Thanks to her doctor's excellent care, Payton was able to make a full recovery in about six weeks. 

 "I learned from her protocols that they passed on to us, her parents, what we need to be observant for and watch for and so it does help us when we're watching her in tournament play," Todd said. 

Payton now shares her story with others, stressing the importance of brain health.   

 "Your brain is more important than your sport," she said. "Your sport is not forever, but your brain is forever." 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.