RHINELANDER - You can just ask Eagles and Bears fans how much concussions affect the sport of football.
Three high-profile NFL quarterbacks suffered concussions more than a week ago.
New rules meant they had to miss this week's games.
It seems more and more players are getting them…or is it because there’s more emphasis put on enforcement?
In the Northwoods, Rhinelander’s been focusing on concussions since 2004.
One of the most famous Rhinelander Hodags ever is Mike Webster.
The football stadium bears his name.
The Pro Football Hall of Famer died from what the NFL's retirement board deemed brain injuries suffered from football.
"It was late in the fourth quarter against Antigo," Rhinelander Senior Linebacker Dylon Wilmot said.
"Their running back got the ball and I was playing middle linebacker obviously. When I went for a tackle, I dropped my head, as I'm taught not to, it was my own fault and I got hit on top of the head."
Wilmot knows the feeling all too well.
"I was just nauseous, a huge headache, I did not feel overall great as I normally would," Wilmot explained.
"I puked afterwards, I was not feeling great at all."
Rhinelander Athletic Trainer Eric Prom says it's not always the big ones.
"Some of the ones that are big hits aren't concussions," Prom said.
"It can sometimes be the smallest thing."
Wilmot had a concussion. He'd miss the next two games as part of his recovery.
"It was the worst feeling in the world being on the sidelines and not being able to play," Wilmot said.
He had no choice. New Wisconsin law requires athletes to sit out and be evaluated by a doctor before returning.
"The change that is occurring and happening now is a recognition," Dr. Kent Jason Lowry from Northland Orthopedics said.
"That those other more subtle, or softer symptoms - you're dizzy, you're having a headache, you're sensitive to the light, there's been some emotional changes are also signs of a head injury and need to be respected."
The NFL has taken a lead on concussions. Putting it at the top of its priority list for player safety.
The school district of Rhinelander has done this since 2004, requiring athletes to go through an impact test before they participate in sports.
The school also invested in new helmets going into this football season, however helmets sometimes can't even make the difference. It's all about education.
"What we need to do is continue to educate the students," Rhinelander School Nurse Kerri Schmidt said.
"They need to recognize the symptoms. They need to contact the coach and the athletic trainer."
"We're talking about are not symptoms we can do a test for," Dr. Lowry said.
"They're symptoms that you have to tell us about as the athlete. You're the only one that knows if you have them or not."
"It's something they always teach us, but as, being kids, we kind of overlook it," Wilmot said.
Wilmot says he knows why now. He went to the hospital after the game to be checked out.
"Once it actually happens to you, you realize how serious it is," Wilmot admits.
Serious enough to miss school and practice because of it.
"It's the worst," Wilmot said.
"I literally laid in my bed all day for a week straight."
"For us, particularly at the high school level, what we're trying to accomplish is to get people to recognize the symptoms and respect the injury," Dr. Lowry said.
Respecting the injury is worth more than just a few games, it could mean your future.
"A child's brain, an adolescent's brain is a developing brain," Schmidt said.
And one that will hopefully carry student-athletes beyond the athletic fields and into the real world.
The NFL’s policy is similar to the youth one.
Most we spoke with agree it’s important to have the NFL behind this push because of its wide-reaching influence.
LAC DU FLAMBEAU - Ruby's pantry opened their doors Tuesday in Lac du Flambeau. This is the first time the Ruby's pantry has set up shop there. They decided to come to Lac du Flambeau because of the good turnout in Rhinelander. The food pantry asks that people give a $20 donation.
“It's not your typical food pantry,” says Gloria Cobb, Ruby's Pantry Lac du Flambeau Lead Coordinator. “This is an opportunity to give people dignity, to serve with dignity, and it's a donation base.”
“I mean look at the hustle and bustle going on we've got the community coming together not only Lac du Flambeau but the surrounding community coming together to meet a very basic need and that's to help with hunger,” says Cobb.
The pantry offered items like strawberries, cake mix, and toilet paper. More than 400 people were expected to show up.
“A participant will go through the line with a laundry basket and or box and they will be offered items,” says Cobb. “They can refuse them however we will encourage them to take the item because somebody else that they may know may have a need.”
“They get a certain amount of each item and they go through the line like an assembly line,” says Cobb.
The pantry had more than 21,000 pounds of food to give away.
RHINELANDER - The Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce group held a seminar at Nicolet College in Rhinelander Tuesday, to plan how to make Wisconsin more attractive to skilled workers and manufacturing businesses.
WMC's president believes the shortage in younger people in the industry has to do with two big misconceptions about manufacturing.
"The younger kids, as do their parents, have a perception on what manufacturing looks like and it's about 40 years out of date. If you're in an advanced manufacturing facility now, it's clean, it's high-tech, the engineers and technicians are working together," said Jim Morgan."We have a perception problem. I think we still have a definition of success that's says unless you have a four-year degree, you're not successful."
Morgan says groups like WMC work to change that perception. He believes workers with a two-year degree are just as successful in the industry.
So far, WMC held seminars at nine other technical colleges. For Rhinelander, more manufacturers could mean more economic independence.
"The Rhinelander Chamber of Commerce is looking to see how it can help and partner with local manufacturers to make the Rhinelander area a more favorable place for them to locate their businesses, as well as to attract and retain skilled workers to make those businesses successful," said Dana DeMet, Rhinelander Chamber of Commerce director.
Over the next six months, WMC will continue to look for ways to attract more workers and businesses to the state.
In December, it hopes to have 1000 representatives for a meeting in Milwaukee focusing on how manufacturing will benefit the state.
WMC also works with the University of Wisconsin system and the Wisconsin Technical Colleges.
WAUSAU - Students at Northcentral Technical College in Wausau got to see Tibetan monks create a work of art steeped in Buddhist history.
The Mandala Sand Art is an ancient Tantric Buddhist tradition dating back thousands of years.
The Tibetan Monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery are on an international tour called Mystical Arts of Tibet where they create mandalas in front of an audience.
"The colored patterns we are using, we are following the scriptures, the Buddhist scriptures. It's a very old tradition, more than 2,500 years ago," says Geshe Loden, head of the Mystical Arts of Tibet.
The monks' last visit to Northcentral Technical College in 2011 was so popular, they were invited back.
"At NTC we feel like it's important to offer our students a variety of different programming, and one of the things we feel our responsibility to do is expose our students to other cultures, other religions, other ideas," says Director of Student Development Shawn Sullivan.
The monks work hours at a time placing sand delicately in the lines of the intricate pattern.
The mandala will take them four days to complete, but the beautiful creation won't last long.
"After finishing this, making the mandala, we consecrate this completed mandala, and we dismantle it to symbolize the impermanence of all the conditioned things, all the phenomena," says Loden.
The monks' tour raises money for more than 3,000 monasteries in India. They also do it to raise awareness about the plight of Tibetans.
"Lord Buddha had started this, and that tradition keeps going on."
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