Football Season Brings Concerns About Brain Injuries
Fall is right around the corner and football fans are gearing up for a season of tailgating, fantasy leagues, touchdowns and high impact tackles. Unfortunately, it is also the season for potential brain injuries. From mild concussions to debilitating traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), football players are at increased risk. This is especially true when players are trained incorrectly or encouraged to play in an unsafe manner.
What is a TBI?
As explained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), TBIs result from a blow to the head or a violent jolt that causes the brain to bump against the skull. On the mild end of the spectrum, the victim may experience a concussion, characterized by the following symptoms:
- Temporary loss of consciousness;
- Severe headache;
- Nausea and/or vomiting;
- Ringing in the ears;
- Slurred speech; and/or
- Temporary memory loss.
On the severe end of the spectrum, a TBI can cause debilitation or even death. According to the CDC, more than two million people sustained a TBI in 2010. Some disorders caused by severe brain injuries include problems with:
- Cognitive functions – Severe loss of memory may result, both long-term and short-term, along with decreased memory.
- Motor functions – This may manifest as extreme weakness within the arms and legs, lack of coordination and inability to balance.
- Sensations – This includes loss of hearing, vision impairment, decreases in perception and impairment of touch sensations.
- Emotional difficulties – This may include depression and anxiety, unreasonable aggression, severe personality changes, and lack of impulse control.
Protecting your Player
With the increased media attention surrounding football TBIs, researchers are aggressively searching for ways to make helmets more effective. During the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, experts reportedly presented information to prove that current football helmets offer inadequate protection for players. Studies reportedly showed that the occurrences of brain injuries only decreased by about 20 percent, when compared to players who wore no helmet.
To protect your player and help prevent concussions, the CDC suggests that parents take the following steps:
- Ensure that your child’s helmet and other protective equipment is fitted properly and worn correctly. They should always wear their helmet during play, which includes the buckling of the chin strap.
- Ensure that your child is receiving proper instruction about safe techniques when blocking and tackling.
- Speak with your child’s coach and ensure that your child is being taught to play “heads up” football, where the player keeps their head in an upright position while hitting instead of lowering and leading with their head.
- Learn the signs of concussion and check your athlete for these signs.
- Never allow your child to return to play after a concussion until cleared by a medical professional
If your football player suffered a severe traumatic brain injury in the West Palm Beach area, our experienced personal injury attorneys at Gary Roberts & Associates are here to help. Call the office or contact us today for a free and confidential consultation of your case.