High school football players across the nation are practicing and gearing up for upcoming games. While the cheerleaders learn their moves and the schools prepare for pep rallies, parents everywhere are going increasingly concerned about the risk of injury the rough sport provides.
Thanks to more information regarding CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) in pro football players, the most pressing concern for parents is brain injuries. And rightly so. Most high school sports fatalities are due to a head injury—and most of those head injuries occur in football players. While fatalities are not widespread and coaches are football programs are implementing more precautions to deal with concussions and other brain injuries, the risk remains.
In fact, a recent CTE study published in JAMA found that 21% percent of high school football players and 91% of college football players studied showed signs of CTE. This is certainly troubling news for parents, but it does come with a grain of salt. The studied brains were donated for evaluation, meaning that the sample may be skewed as those who thought their loved one may have suffered a significant brain injury may have been more likely to donate their loved one’s brains.
Most people no longer question that brain injuries related to football can lead to CTE. It’s important to note, however, that football doesn’t necessarily lead to CTE and that precautions can be taken to protect our children.
The Dangers of A Concussion
A concussion occurs when the brain is knocked back and forth or twisted inside of the skull and usually results from a blow to the body or head. A concussion is considered a traumatic brain injury. Anyone who is believed to be suffering from a concussion should seek medical attention.
An individual complaining of a headache, nausea, dizziness, double visions, lethargy, sensitivity to sound and light, memory problems or confusion after a hit or accident should be evaluated by a medical professional. If the individual appears to be dazed or confused, forgetful, clumsy, slow to answer normal questions, unconscious, or lacking in memory, they should seek medical attention for a possible concussion.
In many cases, concussions symptoms disappear within two weeks. Other individuals, however, may suffer from memory problems and other symptoms for months or even years. Multiple concussions can lead to lifelong problems such as forgetfulness, personality changes, and more.
It’s important to note that traumatic brain injury isn’t always a one-time event such as a concussion. Sometimes successive, smaller injuries (repetitive head impacts) can cause traumatic brain injury as well.
Reducing the Risk of Head Injuries During Football Games
To reduce the risk of brain injuries, parents can delay the start of contact sports until a child is older and teach their child the importance of wearing the appropriate protective gear. Parents should know the signs of a concussion and ensure their child’s team has appropriate protocols in place to deal with an injury. In addition, parents can discuss a coach’s methods and training to ensure the coach is limiting full contact when possible and is trained in minimizing injuries. For example, a football coach should be teaching kids how to tackle as safely as possible and a hockey coach should teach kids how to absorb body contact. Children should also be taught the symptoms of a concussion and the importance of telling their coaches if something is wrong.
While we as parents want to do everything to ensure our children are safe, we cannot be with them all the time or make their choices for them. Contact sports will result in injury and, hopefully, they are all minor. However, if you believe your child has suffered an unnecessary injury because of someone else’s negligence, consult with a Tampa personal injury lawyer. Traumatic brain injuries and other severe injuries can have lifelong consequences. You and your family don’t have to deal with those consequences alone. Call the team at Winters & Yonker today.