Is Your High School Football Player at Risk of TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) ?


It seems as if high school football has been in the news quite a bit lately, as football-related concussion awareness is at an all time high. President Barack Obama recently commented that even though he is a fan of football, if he had a son, he would have to think long and hard before allowing him to play. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) in Atlanta, Georgia says that sports concussions have reached epidemic proportions. Research has shown that concussions can be much more serious than originally thought years ago, and in some cases may even be fatal. A new study reports that concussion from high school sports is rising at an annual 15%, and as it does, high school football participation rates have dropped 15 to 20% due to increasing parental concern. Football tops the list of all high school sports in concussion rates, accounting for more than half (56.8%) of all concussions. Many of these occur from player-to-player contact (76.2%), the most common being head-to-head. Lawyer firm in Georgia. According to, high school athletes sustain an estimated 300,000 concussions per year, and on the average, at least one high-school football player sustains a concussion in nearly every American game.

In 2010, Spring Hill, Kansas high school senior Nathan Stiles collapsed and later died after playing in his first football game following an earlier concussion, which probably had not fully healed before he was cleared to play again. After the original concussion, Nathan sat out for several weeks, had no lingering symptoms, and got his doctor's okay before returning to play. But in his first game back, after a hard tackle, he collapsed on the sidelines and lost consciousness after telling someone next to him that "my head is really hurting." He died later at the hospital.

In a similar case, in 2011, a Phoenix, New York high school player, 16 year old Ridge Barden, collapsed on the field after a particularly hard hit from an opposing player. He complained of a headache and fell when he tried to stand up. He was rushed to the hospital where he later died. A short time later the autopsy revealed the cause of death was bleeding to his brain due to blunt force trauma.

NFL players are adults and old enough to make their own decisions, but it's up to us to make these decisions for our children. And, unlike the NFL, there is no single governing body for high school football. Each state has its own association, and each association makes its own rules. Perhaps in the past we didn't have full knowledge of the possible risks of concussion. But in this day and age we do.

A recent study shows that between 4 and 4.5 million children in the United States play football annually. Purdue Biomedical Professor Eric Nauman has studied the impact of brain injuries on high school football players, and says, "Young athletes are at an increased risk for brain injuries because their brains are still developing, therefore it's extremely important to limit the severity of head impacts."

And according to research by the New York Times, at least 50 youth football players, (youth being defined as high school age or younger) from 20 different states have either died or suffered serious head injury since 1997.

Headache is the most common symptom of concussion, followed by dizziness or unsteadiness, trouble concentrating, disorientation or confusion, and vision changes or sensitivity to light. Actual loss of consciousness is uncommon, occurring less than 5% of the time.


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