Brain Injuries And High School Football
Brain injuries among current and former players in the National Football League have led to increased scrutiny into the safety of the sport of football. A recent study shows that the risk of head injuries might be highest among high school football players. A group of experts analyzed academic studies about concussions among college and prep football players. The results demonstrated that the risk of a concussion was nearly twice as high in high school football compared to college. The study also showed that football was the sport with the highest rate of concussions among college sports. The results are likely to draw even more attention to a problem that for years went almost unnoticed by the public.
The experts gathered data concerning the number of athletic exposures, meaning practices and games, that players saw and the number of concussions suffered. College players suffered 6.3 concussions per athletic exposure. High school players suffered 11.2 concussions per exposure. While many victims felt no symptoms from the concussion within two weeks of the injury, somewhere between 10 and 20 percent suffered for far longer. In some cases, symptoms would linger even years after the incident.
The results coincide with a sharp increase in the total number of sports-related concussions diagnosed in emergency rooms over the years. In 2001, 150,000 such injuries were reported among patients less than 19 years of age. By 2009 that figure had risen to 250,000 concussions. Brain injuries are a growing concern among young athletes.
Coaches and parents need to be vigilant about player safety. The impact of a brain injury can be devastating to a person of any age. Proper safety measures need to be employed to protect young people from harm.
Source: ESPN.com, " Preps at greater concussion risk," by Tom Farrey, 30 October 2013