Like many sports fans, the traumatic brain injury lawyers at the Louthian Law firm are excited about the ongoing high school football season.
But this year parents, coaches and fans are watching the games with crossed fingers. Their anxiety is caused by a growing awareness of the dangers of sports injuries, particularly the risk of traumatic brain injury faced by football players.
High school football accounted for the greatest number of severe injuries of all fall sports in 2011, according to a sports injury research study at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.
In addition to an alarming number of brain injuries, there were two deaths, both involving head and neck trauma. One occurred when the athlete was being blocked during a game. The other occurred while the player was making a tackle in practice.
The Louthian Law Firm, located in Columbia, is dedicated to fighting for the rights of South Carolina youth who sustain personal injuries in sports activities, including bringing injury lawsuits against responsible parties to recover compensation for medical expenses, disabilities and pain and suffering.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when an external force causes a violent impact to the brain. Hard collisions can also cause spinal injuries. Both brain and spine injuries can result in permanent mental or physical disability.
A study at Purdue University shows that concussions are usually caused not by a single blow to the head but by repeated hits over time. And a 2011 study at the University of Pennsylvania found that a young adult who suffers a single traumatic brain injury can show changes in his brain years later, possibly leading to neurodegenerative disease similar to Alzheimer’s.
These concerns have led most states to pass laws intended to prevent concussions in youth sports. But the problem of concussions and other severe personal injury goes all the way up the sports ladder to the professional level. The National Football League has been rocked by a lawsuit from former players, suicides, and a growing body of research into the tragedy of TBI.
Dangers Beyond Football
- About 3.5 million children (ages 14 and under) get hurt each year playing sports or participating in recreational activities.
- The leading cause of death from a sports-related accident is a brain injury.
- Approximately two out of five traumatic brain injuries among children are associated with participation in sports and recreational activities – most involving contact and collision.
- The most common youth sports injuries are sprains (mostly ankle), muscle strains, bone injuries, repetitive motion injuries and heat-related illness.
- Most injuries (62 percent) occur during practice.
- Children aged five to 14 account for nearly 40 percent of all sports injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms.
- In addition to football, injury rates for boys are high in ice hockey, rugby and soccer. For girls, soccer, basketball and gymnastics are the most dangerous sports.
How can parents help protect their children? By insisting on proper equipment, conditioning and coaching techniques and educating themselves about TBI and other sports-related injuries. And they can make sure their child is immediately removed from action at the first sign of a concussion.
Youth sports play an important role in childhood development. They teach young people many important lessons. One of the most important lessons is how to enjoy the game while safeguarding your health.
- Purdue University Youth Sports Injury Research http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/research/2012/120202NaumanFootball.html
- The National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research, UNC-Chapel Hill http://www.unc.edu/depts/nccsi/
- Reuters – “High School Football Saving Brains” http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/20/us-usa-football-concussions-idUSBRE88J1BP20120920
- National SAFE Kids Campaign http://www.safekids.org/
- American Academy of Pediatrics http://www.aap.org/
The above guest post has been submitted on behalf of the Louthian Law Firm in Columbia, S.C. Call the firm today toll free at 888-662-0430 or locally at 803-454-1200 for a free evaluation of your case.