Anyone who watches football on a Sunday afternoon knows that it is a sport where brain injuries are common. What many people don’t know is that high school athletes are just as at risk for these injuries. Any contact sport comes with the risk of traumatic brain injuries, and it isn’t just males who are suffering from them. Read on for more information regarding high school football and the potential long-lasting effects of a traumatic brain injury.
High School Athletes and Brain Injuries
The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) has found that there has been a 62 percent increase in the last decade of adolescents under the age of 19 suffering from serious head injuries. While it has been suggested that this increase might be because contact sports are becoming more popular and so more high school students are taking part in them, it must also be recognized that high school athletes are bigger and faster than ever before, increasing the risk of concussions.
While males and females suffer from traumatic brain injuries while participating in their high school sport, it has been found that 70 percent of sufferers are male. While girls’ soccer also presents a high incidence of traumatic brain injuries, high school football results in more brain injuries than biking, soccer and basketball combined. Shockingly, boys aged 15-19 represent half of all football brain injuries.
High School Athletes and Concussions
High school football players suffer the highest rates of concussions. While it was once believed that concussions were similar to bruising, it is now known that a concussion is when the head is violently shaken, as would be the case with a football tackle. A rapid acceleration or stop causes the brain to be flooded with chemicals, also known as neurotransmitters. This flooding of neurotransmitters can result in symptoms such as memory loss, confusion, blurred vision, headaches and even unconsciousness.
While helmets have caused injuries such as skull fractures to essentially disappear, there are still instances of high school football players dying from traumatic brain injuries related to their sport. While the average number of adolescents under 18 to die from football brain injuries is 3 to 4 per year, it has been noted that their deaths are more likely due to the fact that they had not given their first concussion enough time to heal. A concussion takes at least 10 days to properly heal, although the risk of suffering from subsequent concussions increases.
Suffering from just 2 concussions can increase an individual’s chance of mental problems, such as reoccurring headaches, dizziness and trouble sleeping. Suffering from more than 2 concussions has also been shown to cause an individual’s GPA to drop.
Recent Research Conducted and CTE
New research has shown that traumatic brain injuries, such as those sustained from football, can lead to a long-term degenerative brain condition. CTE, or Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, can only be diagnosed post-mortem but is not uncommon in individuals who have suffered multiple concussions or other traumatic head injuries. Repeated concussions over a period of time can result in CTE, which is incurable. Symptoms include memory loss, depression and dementia.
On average, 2 million student athletes each year suffer from some kind of brain injury, but high school football players are at the highest risk. After medical treatment, it is recommended that injured student athletes and their families seek the help of an experienced legal professional so that compensation for any medical treatments, or for pain and suffering, can be received.
If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury while playing football or another high school sport, you may be eligible for compensation. For more information about traumatic brain injuries resulting from high school sports, visit the website of Marks & Harrison Attorneys at Law, a brain injury law firm located in Richmond, Virginia at www.MarksandHarrison.com.