If you are the parent of a high school boy, your home may be a hotbed of discussion – or even vehement argument – as to whether or not your son should play on his high school’s football team. Traditionally, dads were all for their sons playing this most popular of high school male sports, while moms were considerably less than convinced that being constantly tackled, hit and thrown to the ground by teammates and opponents was indeed in the best interests of their sons.
Today, however, moms and dads are not nearly as far apart in their thinking than once was the case. As more and more research has come to light regarding the high risk of concussions and other football injuries, more and more parents are rethinking their position on allowing or encouraging their sons to participate in the glory of those Friday Night Lights events.
Sobering Fatality Statistics
As reported by CBS News, over two dozen high school football players have died in recent years from traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries. And now a new study reveals that such fatal injuries are seeing a slight uptick, especially among running backs and linebackers who are the players most often tackled. Even more alarming, approximately 20 percent of players ultimately killed while playing high school football received a previous concussion less than one month prior to their fatal injuries.
Equally Sobering Non-fatality Statistics
Not all high school football injuries result in death, of course. Many do, however, result in serious brain injuries. In fact, according to a study conducted by two New York professors, nearly 270 high school football players suffer a traumatic brain injury every year.
In addition to TBIs, which could result in permanent disability, high school football players also face the onset of chronic traumatic encephalopathy(CTE), a progressive degenerative brain disease found in people who play contact sports and who have histories of blows to the head, whether or not they resulted in actual concussions. Unfortunately, as one respected physician and author states: “The research is clear — when children participate in high-impact, high-contact sports, there is a 100 percent risk of exposure to brain damage.”
So should football be banned in the nation’s schools? Few people go that far, but legislators in New York, Maryland and Illinois have introduced legislation to ban tackle football for children under high school age. Consequently, the football controversy may continue to rage in your household since parents have the final word on whether or not their sons play high school football.
The New York State Department of Health strongly recommends that if you permit your son to play football, he always wear the following during his games:
- A properly fitted helmet
- A proper mouth guard with a keeper snap that secures it to his face mask
- A one-piece or shell pair of pants with thigh guards
- Shoulder, hip, tail and knee pads
- A proper jersey
- An athletic supporter
- Proper shoes
- Shatter-proof (safety) glasses or contacts if he needs vision correction
In addition, you should make sure that your son undergoes an annual physical examination before football season begins. Also constantly remind him of the necessity to drink plenty of water and/or sports drinks before, during and after his games.
If your son receives a football injury, please call Richard A. Dubi toll-free at 833-FOR-DUBI (833-367-3824).