Rising number of brain injuries in high-school football players
The number of catastrophic brain injuries suffered by high-school football players is on the rise, according to new data released from National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research. The center, based at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has been publishing annual reports on catastrophic injuries for 48 years. Their reports show that last year 11 high-school football players suffered catastrophic brain injuries. That's the highest the number has ever been since the center began tracking catastrophic brain injuries in 1984. From 2001 to 2010, there was a 25% jump in football-related disability brain injuries.
The spike in numbers may be partially due to the growing awareness and reporting of brain injuries in recent years. Still the trend is disturbing given that catastrophic brain injuries can cause life-changing mental disabilities.
The reports indicates that since 1977, an estimated 67% of catastrophic brain injuries resulted from tackling. Although head-to-head contact was prohibited starting in 1976, many of the dangerous tackling techniques still occur, pointed out Fred Mueller, the lead author of the report.
The center's findings highlight the need for the ongoing discussion of how to reduce brain injuries amongst high-school contact-sport athletes. Even if players don't receive catastrophic brain injuries, recent research suggests they can still have cognitive deficiencies from years of mild concussions. Another study indicated that even athletes who don't show signs of concussion can suffer neurological impairment.
To find ways to prevent brain injuries from contact sports, contact a health professional who specializes in brain injuries and sports medicine.
Football-Related Catastrophic Brain Injuries On the Rise. Science Daily. April 16,2012.
Mueller, F. Annual Survey of Catastrophic Football Injuries. Department of Exercise & Sport Science University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Stevens, Time. High school football brain injuries increasing. News & Observer. April 17, 2012.