According to researchers from Nationwide Children’s Hospital young athletes across all sports suffer 300,000 concussions each year. Almost 90 percent of concussions in high school football happen from player-to-player contact.
Everyone knows that football is a contact sport. Theoretically a football helmet is supposed to protect but in too many cases it gets used as a weapon by a defensive player. Most leagues have rules that prohibit using a helmet as the point of contact on a tackle, unfortunately there are too many times those rules are ignored. The hard plastic that a helmet is constructed from can injure an opposing player. Ironically it does a poor job of protecting the head and a terrible job of protecting the neck.
Approximately 3.5 million American families let their kids play pre-high school tackle in 2012. About 250,000 of them play Pop Warner, which has a tackle division for 5-year-olds. There are also large numbers of less organized youth leagues throughout the country. These are organizations without trainers on the sidelines and amateur coaches who have no comprehension of the symptoms of a concussion.
A boy playing tackle football experiences some ugly biomechanical effects. At those young ages a boy’s body-to-brain ratio resembles exactly that of a bobblehead doll. While his skull is nearly grown his brain is still tender and sensitive to trauma. His body is relatively small and his neck is weak . Impact creates a whiplash effect.
In the NFL, all players are required to take a medical exam at the beginning of each year. This gives their doctors a baseline assessment of a player’s’ regular mental and physical state. At high schools, there is no standard medical testing for football players. Unfortunately, there is no standard requirement for medical personnel to be employed by the team.
Basically this means your coaching staff needs to really understand the symptoms of a concussion so they can take the appropriate measure to protect the player. If you are the parent of a High School football player the Lambert Foundation for Child Safety strongly suggesting that you inquire about the school getting baseline physicals for the team at the beginning of football season. If they won’t do it, get one done yourself.
How Can You Protect the Player?
You can start with better helmets but that is not going to happen immediately. More important, learn the signs of a concussion:
What are the symptoms of a concussion?
The easiest way to show you is to show you. The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has created an outstanding infographic for the symptoms of a concussion. CHOP encourages others to embed this infographic on their site or in a post. Please click the “Concussion Symptoms” tab at the top of the page. After you look at the infographic please return to the top of the page and click the “PBS Video” tab to watch their outstanding video on youth football.
The following Infographic was created by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Click to get this infographic from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia website. Please return to the top of the page and click the “PBS Video” tab to watch their outstanding video on youth football.
This is the one video on Youth Football Concussions that every parent should watch. This PBS News Story is titled; “Young Football Players Take Big-League Hits to Head.” It’s almost 13 minutes long but well worth watching, It’s an eye opener. After you watch it…Watch it again.