Football season is in full swing. High school stadiums are typically packed on Friday nights for football games. Though it is a sport most Americans love, football also causes serious injuries to the players.
In this last month, several high school football players around the country were seriously injured and even died after sustaining severe head injuries during football games. In September, a 16 year old high school football player of Brocton, NY, died 3 days after suffering a severe head injury from a helmet-to-helmet collision during a varsity game. *Source: http://www.foxnews.com (High school football player dies after suffering severe head injury)
Earlier this month, a 17 year old high school football player in West Virginia died after he suffered a brain injury during a football game. *Source: http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com (West Virginia high school player passes away due to brain injury)
Just last week, another high school football player in Chicago sustained a brain injury during a game and remains in critical condition. *Source: http://abclocal.go.com (Lane Tech High School football player remains in critical condition after brain injury)
Many research studies show a causal relationship between impacts or hits to the head and head injuries for football players. A recent study conducted by researchers in North Carolina and Virginia looked at this causal relationship for players between ages 6 and 18. Accelerometer-equipped helmets, which measure head impacts, were used in the study to calculate head injury risk over a football season. Researchers in this study also reviewed players’ brain imaging scans to find links between measured head impacts and any changes in brain tissue and function. The data from the research is still being analyzed. *Source: http://technologyreview.com (Brain Injury Study Tracks Football's Youngest Players)
One of the study’s investigators, Joel Stitzel, stated that less attention is being paid to having medical staff present at football games where the players are younger. College and professional football players have trainers and physicians on the sidelines, while younger football players in high school depend on coaches and parents to watch for problems. Therefore, it is not uncommon for a high school football player who sustains a mild concussion during the game to go right back in the game. This is very dangerous because a second impact to the head could lead to permanent brain injuries.
Gerry Gioia, a pediatric neuropsychologist who is also involved in the study, stated that what is more alarming is that even blows that aren’t strong enough to cause a concussion can also cause serious injury. “There is preliminary data suggesting there may be a relationship to brain function.” says Gioia.
Therefore, it is vital to have trained high school football coaches who can recognize signs of concussion. When coaches aren’t trained, that is when tragedy happens. A football player could be put back in a game after a concussion and suffers a traumatic brain injury after a second hit to the head. In this situation, the school and coaches could be liable for the player’s permanent brain injuries.
If your child sustained a brain injury during a contact sport and you believe that it was due to the negligence of the coach, school or sport organization, feel free to contact the sports injury lawyers at White and Williams for a free consultation. 877.944.8396.