Is the Future of Football Curbed by Brain Injury?

How Football Injuries Led to Multiple Class Action Lawsuits

On this Page:

  • Study says HS Football has risks for head injury
  • Tips for preventing sports and head injury
  • Most common sports injuries

It’s no secret that the future of NFL has been called into question after evidence that thesport causes brain damage for many who play. Players with CTE have secured $1 billion in class action settlement.

A new potential class action lawsuit against Pop Warner calls into question the regulating bodies and lack thereof. One plaintiff has presented on Capitol Hill to show how there is more regulation over toy helmets than there is over the ones that junior football players wear. Allegations of the suit state that the organization does not live up to advertised safety measures, the coaches are not subject to extensive training and that children were not using the safest possible helmets.

Some worry that higher regulation or holding the junior football organizers accountable may make the sport too expensive or litigious to play. How can we keep this favorite American past time alive while keeping the players safe? Some may look to safer helmets, or a tackle-style that may have more in common with rugby. The CDC released a new study stating that safety precautions still need to improve in the sport. In the past 10 years 28 students have died playing the sport as a result of TBI.

The organization supports safety efforts that include

  • proper tackling techniques
  • emergency precautions in case of severe injury
  • medical care available onsite during competition
  • medical assessment to continue play after a concussion

If your kids or loved ones are heading out onto the football field you may be wondering how you can keep them safe. Read ahead for safety precautions every parent can take – whether your child is in football, soccer, or Marathon Kids.

5 Ways to Prevent Injury

It’s that time of year again! Kids from K-12 to college students are going back to school, getting in the swing of classes and homework, and trying out for sports teams. While the types of sports offered varies from school to school, sports attached to education is a unique aspect of the American school system and is an important part of becoming a well-rounded student. Sports offer students a unique opportunity to engage with others through team building and communal problem solving and has been shown to have a positive impact on mental health. But like any physical activity, there are a set of risks involved that can have long-lasting effects if not prevented by proper strategy and training. It’s important that parents and coaches reinforce safe sports techniques to keep kids safe and having fun while participating in these activities.

  • Prioritize Safety

Children should be encouraged to think of safety first. Often student athletes are encouraged to go above and beyond, to do anything to make the tackle or get the goal. But this mentality can lead to injury if proper technique and athlete safety is not prioritized. Some sports, like football and soccer, have explicit rules delineating safe play and how to not injure others, but other areas are more ambiguous, like how to not injure yourself. Coaches and parents alike should reinforce to athletes that safety of the players and their opponents are a priority in the games.

  • Core Strength and Conditioning

While all sports require an intimate knowledge of the rules of game play, one theme that runs through all of them is a necessity for core strength and sufficient conditioning. Strengthening your core means strengthening all the muscles involved in core movements. A strong core will protect your spine and vital organs in contact sports or sports involving torsion of the body. Conditioning will ensure that the player can participate throughout the duration of the game. If a player becomes tired, important aspects of sports like cognitive abilities and proper safe techniques are diminished. Coaches and parents should monitor players at all times. Not only will a field of players who are fit play a better game, there will be a smaller chance of injury.

  • Use Proper Gear and Technique

Many team sports have important gear that is required for safety. From shin guards, to helmets, to shoulder pads, to gloves, all sports require certain gear for a reason. Athletes should make sure that not only do they have the proper gear, but they know how to use it. The weight room in particular is a place where athletes can get some valuable training but are also vulnerable to injury. Coaches should teach and enforce proper weight training technique and body mechanics to protect the spines and limbs of players.

  • Hydration

Especially in Texas, heat injury is not only a possibility, it is a probability unless proper measures are taken. Between 1995 and 2009 31 high school football players died from heat stroke complications. Players should hydrate before, during, and after training and matches. Coaches should ensure that practices are at cooler times of the day and that players have necessary water breaks.

  • Warm Up and Cool Down

One of the easiest ways to avoid injury when engaging in physical activity is warming up and cooling down after the activity. This helps prevent injury to joints and muscles from sprains, breaks, and tears. By warming up, muscles and ligaments become more limber, preparing the player for activity. Cooling down is equally as important as warming up. It ensures that the player’s body properly returns to rest and distributes the lactic acid that builds up during exercise.

Common Football Injuries

  1. Traumatic Injuries – Knee injuries are by far the most common injuries in football. Ankle injuries are also very common due to the surfaces played on and cutting motions. Many of these injuries can have a long-term effect on players.
  2. Overuse Injuries – Back pain is a common complaint among players due to overuse. Overuse can also lead to overtraining syndrome which is when a player pushes their body too far causing an injury.
  3. Heat Injuries – Heat injuries are often common among younger football players, especially during the start of training camps. These injuries are a result of physical exertion in extremely hot climates. The earliest symptoms of a heat injury include muscle cramps. If not treated, this injury can result in heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
  4. Concussions – Football players are always susceptible to a concussion. A concussion is a change in mental state due to a traumatic impact. A concussion does not always mean a player suffers unconsciousness, other symptoms include a headache, dizziness, loss of balance, or blurry vision.

Preventing Injury: Advice from Austin Lawyers

  • Get a pre-season checkup. Nutrition can play a big role in a player’s performance. At the start of 2016’s season, ESPN reported that the Longhorn’s first matchup was combatting a 2015 season filled with injuries by instructing players to track their nutrition, sleep quality of sleep and stress level. Turns out the pre-season checkups didn’t prevent injuries or a loss – but may have lessened the impact of any concussions or tears.
  • Wear the right protective equipment. There is no concussion proof helmet. But the most appropriate helmet will reduce the risk of other serious injuries such as skyll and facial fractures, eye injuries, penetration injuries and brain bleeding. Some helmets may be better than others. Look for one with a NOCSAE seal. The National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment is the U.S. body that can certify “safe” athletic gear. Find a helmet that fits, and don’t reuse one unless it has been re-certified by NOCSAE.
  • Warm up properly before practice or a game. When it comes to sports safety, never cut corners. Your muscles are similar to a rubber band in some ways. Before intense use, a rubber band needs to be stretched out and used lightly. If it isn’t – the rubber band is more likely to snap. Protect your muscles with a dynamic warmup.
  • Hydrate adequately to minimize muscle cramps. In Texas it’s hard to beat the heat. Even with early morning football practice it’s important to stay hydrated throughout the day – not just at practice.

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