Posted on November 19, 2013 · Posted in Brain Injury

“The number of high school players that have died this year is shocking”.  This statement was taken from an article published in Buzz Feed Sports   Football and head and neck injuries go hand in hand as could be expected with  what you might call the ”violence” of the sport.  The article states that at least 6 high school football players have died this year.  All from head or neck injuries.  The most recent  was a 17 year old boy from Arizona who died from traumatic brain injury after scoring a touchdown in his team’s state play-off game where they lost 60-6.  The one and only touchdown the team scored.

Maybe you just didn’t hear about it but when I was in school  I don’t remember kids dying from playing football.  It has been since 2008 that not more than 2 high school football players had died from injuries sustained playing football in one year.  Has the sport become that much rougher ? We know when we watch professional football that at any given play there could be a devastating injury.  I guess there is no reason why high school football should be any different than professional as the chance of a head to head, or  head to anything in this sport is inevitable.  So what is there to do about it?  Do we take tackling out of football?  Should  the schools only allow flag football?  That is not likely to happen.

According to the article just recently   Sports on Earth’s Patrick Hruby stated that the rate of concussions in youth football is 4%.  It was also stated that there is a 10% drop each year of parents enrolling their children in football.  I know as a parent I didn’t want my child to play football and encouraged him to play sports where injury was less likely.  Has this become a trend?  Four percent is huge. And of that 4% how many end up with traumatic brain injury or injuries that cause life time deficits.

Tackling is only one way to suffer a head injury in any sport.  Anytime you are running around a field in a team sport there could be the possibility of head to head injury.  In baseball two players collide going for a fly ball.  In basketball two players collide on a regular basis whether intentional or accidental.  I could go on and on but we all know that there is potential for injury in just about any sport.  Will taking the roughness of tackling out of football at any level prevent players to suffer a traumatic brain injury?  Of course not.  It will however lower the risk but at the same time take a lot of the excitement out of the game.

At least 6 teenage boys dying from injuries sustained in football since the beginning of this year is not only shocking but unfathomable.  It seems something has to be reevaluated when it comes to high school athletics.  I don’t claim to have all the answers to this travesty but it is definitely an area of concern that should be seriously looked at.  Either stricter rules need to be set into play or options used to prevent our youth from life threatening situations.

About the Author

Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice :: 800-992-9447