EDMOND, Oklahoma - High school football kicks off this week and there's a new emphasis on protecting athletes. In June, the Governor signed a bill requiring athletes with head injuries to have a doctor's note before they can compete.

The "Concussion Bill" as it's known, goes into effect November 1. Mercy Hospital plans to keep its Edmond clinic open late on several nights to quickly treat any concussions.

It's hidden injury that oftentimes athletes hide from their peers, knowing it could take them out of the game.

“I knew that a concussion equaled I wouldn't play. So when someone asked me how many concussions I’ve had, well none clinically diagnosed,” said Carl Thomas, who suffered several confusions in his lifetime.

Carl Thomas, like many athletes, is all too familiar with the blackout head injury that doctors say can lead to more serious issues later in life. Many of these injuries go undiagnosed.

“Being so young you don't really think about your life after sports or just past that moment,” said Trayvon Smith, who also suffered multiple concussions in his lifetime.

Two concussions on the wrestling mat in high school left Trayvon Smith in a daze, his vision blurry. At his school, there was no protocol for bringing athletes back into competition following a concussion.

A new Oklahoma law now sets guidelines for athletes after suffering from concussions.

A concussion specialist like Dr. Brendon McCollom at Mercy, must sign off that the athlete is healthy enough to return to the game.

“Our goal is to really see them the same day. Our goal is really to get them in in three days. Within three days in the most important,” said Dr. McCollom.

The new late night Mercy Clinic hours gives athletes more access to concussion specialists. Tests at the clinic help doctors to properly diagnosis a head injury rather than forcing the athlete to sit out a game.

Mercy's new extended hours starts next week for Fridays, and Saturdays.