Are Youth Football Players at Risk for Brain Injuries?

Posted By Regan Zambri Long, PLLC || 28-Nov-2017

An estimated three million Americans between the ages of six to 17 play tackle football each year. However, recent studies have found that tackle football carries an enormous health risk for young athletes. Youth football players are at risk for several types of serious injuries that can affect them for the rest of their lives.

A recent article published by the Richmond Times Dispatch went into detail about this topic. The article discusses why school football coaches and athletic trainers are transparent with players about the possible health risks caused by concussions. These risks include:

  • Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE): There have been concerns about the long-term health risks caused by football-related concussions since the mid-1990s. However, it was only in 2002 that Dr. Bennett Omalu discovered the first evidence of CTE in the brain of deceased football player Michael Webster. The condition is linked with multiple debilitating symptoms, such as impulsive behavior, short-term memory loss, depression and suicidality. CTE was recently found in the brains of three former high school football players.
  • Subdural hematoma: A subdural hematoma occurs when there is bleeding between the covering of the brain (dura) and its surface. As bleeding intensifies, the brain tissue is compressed, which can result a more severe injury or death. Subdural hematomas are linked to the deaths of an estimated 11 youth football players between 2005 and 2014.

Why are Return-to-Play Laws Important?

Although cases of CTE among high school football players could be rare, it is important for schools and youth athletic programs to be transparent with players and their parents. Families should be able to decide whether playing contact sports is worth the risk. Furthermore, athletic trainers and coaches must be able to recognize concussion symptoms so players can be pulled from the field.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are return-to-play laws in all 50 states. As the name implies, these guidelines dictate when athletes who have concussions can return to playing. Return-to-play laws were enacted to help prevent serious health complications caused by concussions.

The Washington DC personal injury attorneys at Regan Zambri Long, PLLC can review the details of your case at no cost. After an initial consultation, we can inform of any legal options you might have.

Categories: Personal Injury
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