Football isn’t just a contact sport, it is a collision sport. The rise of brain injury deaths among high school football players is becoming almost impossible to completely ignore. The numbers don’t lie. According to a new study conducted by the University of North Carolina and released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly two dozen high school football players have died from traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries between the years 2005 and 2014. The study also indicates the number of deaths are rising slowly each year. Coaches, players, and parents have all taken notice. The statistics and the growing awareness brain injuries in football have made a huge impact in the sport.
Concussions are among the most common injuries in football. A concussion is the temporary loss of consciousness due to trauma to the brain. Although concussions are considered a minor form of brain trauma, the effects can be serious. Those who suffer from a concussion may experience symptoms ranging from headaches to cognitive impairment and sleep disturbances. Repeated concussions can have even more devastating effects, such as the development of the chemical CTE in the brain, which is known to cause severe depression and even suicidal thoughts. In 2015, the movie “Concussion” starring Will Smith brought to light the seriousness of CTE to a mainstream audience. Since that time, coaches, parents, and players have taken notice.
Stricter rules have been implemented to diagnose and treat youth and high school football players who have suffered a concussion. Hawaii is among the first states to develop a comprehensive protocol for handling brain injuries among student-athletes. Hawaii’s recent legislation has also been a major influence on other states that are considering similar preventative measures.
The dangers of brain injuries in football has forced many changes at all levels of the sport. In addition to new concussion protocols for youth and high school players, new helmets and equipment are now being designed for players at different positions. Running backs often taken different types of physical blows than offensive and defensive linemen. Among the most vulnerable athletes are wide receivers and defensive backs that are running and colliding at high speeds. Quarterbacks are also more vulnerable because they are absorbing hits from larger linebackers and defensive linemen that are getting a running start.
New rule changes have started to impact how the game is played. For example, college football has instituted a targeting rule, which carries severe penalties for players who make helmet-to-helmet contact with another player. If the officials determine the attacking player intentionally led with their helmet and used it as a weapon, the player is then ejected from the game. The penalized player will also be forced to miss the first half of the next game.
Severe brain trauma and paralysis are some of the most common catastrophic injuries that occur in football. Like much of the United States, Hawaii has a love affair with football. Thousands of young people participate in the sport at the youth, high school and college levels. Unfortunately, brain injuries do occur. Hawaii catastrophic injury lawyer Jed Kurzban understands the seriousness of brain injuries. Over the last two decades, he has represented many clients who needed legal assistance to recover a proper settlement to pay for medical bills, treatment, lost wages and continual medical assistance. To learn more, contact his law office today and schedule a consultation to discuss your case.