Far too many of us are quick to view hard hits during NFL football games as replay opportunities glorifying highlights of a well-played game. However, with athletes and parents of athletes hearing about the tragic football accident that killed a 15-year-old high school boy, concern has mounted regarding concussions and their potentially life-threatening risks as well as how the NFL portrays aggressive hits.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on September 1 that the Upper Darby, PA teenager’s head struck another football player’s knee during practice. Even though the young teen was wearing a helmet (and pads), he went into a coma before succumbing to his head injury. According to the article, the young boy was not breathing and had no pulse when police and paramedics arrived at Upper Darby High School in Pennsylvania.
The Los Angeles Times reports on the recent Sports Illustrated special edition covering concussions. The story also addresses the NFL’s decision to fine and even potentially suspend players who are determined to have inflicted deliberately dangerous hits upon other players.
One of the most striking aspects of football-related hits covered in Sports Illustrated centers around a study conducted by researchers at Purdue University. The working memory and visual memory, which are both cognitive skills crucial to learning, of 23 members of Jefferson High School’s football team in Indiana were analyzed in relation to the types of hits they received. It was determined that players who seemed to be the most affected were not the individuals who received the hardest and most flagrant hits. Instead, players who seemed to be the most affected were the ones who took the greatest number of milder hits.
The study also revealed that players sustaining high speed and powerful blows to the head did not display the medical criteria for diagnosing a concussion. This raises concern as to potentially serious head injury and damage that may go overlooked or undetected. It is shocking that we are only beginning to understand the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the effects of blows to the head during sport activities, even when blows to the head are considered to be minor.
With approximately 1.1 million high school football players, and 3 million younger kids participating in tackle football, athletes and parents of athletes must be on high alert for ways to ensure safety and well-being. If you or your child has sustained a serious head injury that you believe was caused by another person’s negligence, contact the Pennsylvania brain injury attorneys at Anapol Weiss for information regarding your legal rights and options.