With the recent consolidation of former professional football players filing suit against the NFL with claims that the organization was negligent in not informing players of the long term effects of recurrent traumatic head impacts, reports of head injuries associated with high school football have become a hot issue for parents, schools, and medical organizations. Despite the fact that most coaches are teaching players to avoid head-to-head collisions, head trauma is still a major injury in high school football. A study by Nationwide Children’s Hospital found that injuries from football were responsible for about half of reported concussions among high school athletes. While some cases of head trauma may be unavoidable because football is a tough contact-sport, young athletes are now learning more about the potential risks associated with the popular high school sport.
Concussions, from mild to severe, are the most common form of head injury associated with high school football. Helmet to helmet impacts are one of the main reasons for this, and there have been many reports of serious concussions and other injuries due to these types of plays. Mimicking the dangerous play of their favorite professional athletes, defensive players will lead with their helmet when making a tackle, thus putting themselves at risk for a concussion when they come into contact with another player’s moving body. The risk is amplified when offensive players also lower their heads, using their helmet to get past a defender. Recently some states, including New York, have passed laws that require schools to train coaches to recognize and treat mild head injuries and to keep concussed athletes from participating in contact sports until cleared by a physician. However, players who experience traumatic brain injuries beyond the expected level of high school play may consult with an Albany personal injury attorney to discuss a course of action.
Complications Due to Concussions
Concussions have a wide array of side effects and complications, which is why players and coaches need to do everything they can to minimize their occurrence on the football field. According to the Mayo Clinic, people who have a concussion double their chance of developing epilepsy, a serious disorder, for five years after the concussion occurs. Players that experience multiple concussions are more likely to develop cognitive disorders that may worsen with age. Though research is still ongoing, there may also be a link between repeated concussions and depression later in life. Recently suicides in the NFL have been linked to the possibility of recurring head trauma.
Using Proper Equipment
The best way to prevent concussions is to make sure each player is using equipment that will fully protect them from injury. Helmets should be inspected before each game and they should not have any visible damage like dents or cracks. The inside of the helmet should also be inspected and all padding should be firm without tears or rips. If a helmet is involved in a head-on-collision or a collision involving the helmet to a player’s body during the course of a game, it should immediately be discarded and replaced. High school football players also need to undergo training on how to correctly wear their pads and helmets, making sure that they are properly secured. A helmet that doesn’t fit properly can easily result in an injury. If you believe faulty equipment or improper training of players was responsible for your child’s concussion, you should talk to a qualified Albany injury lawyer that has experience with head trauma cases.
Sarah Leibnitz is a contributing writer for the personal injury firm of Bottar Leone, a team that specializes in head and brain trauma.