Preventing Traumatic Brain Injuries in Youth Football
September 8th, 2014
Football season is here, and it is undeniable that the residents of Texas love this sport. However, as children and teens get ready for battle on the gridiron, it is important for players and parents to understand the potential dangers of concussions and brain injuries.
Concussions are a type of mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) that occur when the brain moves around inside of the skull in response to a quick jolt or hit to the head. The physical nature of football creates a situation in which players are continuously at risk of these types of bodily impacts. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warn parents that concussions are not visible to the eye, and while some symptoms may appear directly after impact, others may go unnoticed for days or even weeks following the injury.
While the signs of a concussion can vary, there are some general symptoms that parents should look for:
Child appearing dazed right after a hit;
Confusion about surroundings or game details, like the score or opponent. Your athlete may also appear unsure about how to play their position in the game;
Clumsy movement suggesting an uncharacteristic lack of coordination;
Loss of consciousness, even if only for a brief moment; and
Forgetfulness and inability to answer simple questions.
Additionally, your child may have one or more of the following complaints:
Sensitivity to normal levels of light and/ or noise;
Blurred vision or seeing double;
Nausea or vomiting; or
“Something just doesn’t feeling right.” Your football player may not know how to articulate the symptoms, so he may just report a general feeling of illness.
When parents or coaches observe these behaviors, it is vitally important to respond in a proper manner. The athlete should not return to the game and parents should seek immediate medical assistance. A physician can properly diagnose the condition, as well as its severity. Experts advise that athletes not return to playing until they are completely cleared by a medical professional. The CDC explains that continuous play can result in repeat concussions. When this occurs, the risk of permanent brain damage increases significantly.
Preventing Sports-Related TBIs
The prevention of concussions in youth football requires a group effort. Along with their own monitoring of the situation, parents also rely on coaches to teach players how to properly hit and be hit. Coaches should also monitor the well-being of players and act appropriately when a head injury is suspected. Adequate equipment is another preventative tool against concussions. Protective equipment should fit correctly to maximize protection. This includes the helmet, which is a necessity for play. However, the CDC warns parents that while helmets can reduce incidents of head injury, they are not “concussion-proof” and only make up one part of injury prevention.
If your child has suffered a traumatic brain injury due to the negligence of another, call Simmons & Fletcher, P.C. at (713) 932-0777 for a consultation about the merits of your possible case.
Robert Simmons is a graduate of The University of Houston Law Center, Houston, Texas, 1966. He has been practicing law in Texas since 1996. He is a founding member and managing shareholder of Simmons and Fletcher, P.C. He has been recognized as a Top Lawyer by H Texas Magazine in 2014 and 2015.