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High School Football a Hotbed for Concussions

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Coaches and Parents Need To Be Aware of Head Injuries and Concussion Dangers

There are approximately 67,000 diagnosed concussions in high school football every year. And with more than 50 Michigan High Schools preparing their football teams for another season of big plays and hard hits, do you know how to keep your player and child safe from the most common traumatic brain injury (TBI)?

Concussions are all too frequent for most football players. In fact, high school football accounts for 47 percent of all reported sports concussions, with 33 percent of concussions occurring during practice. These brain injuries are often caused by a blow, bump or jolt to the head or the body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth. Concussions can have serious consequences like creating chemical changes in the brain and sometimes stretching and extreme damaging of the brain cells. When left undetected, concussions can result in long-term brain damage and may even prove fatal.

How To Spot a Possible Concussion

Teen athletes who are experiencing one or more of the signs and symptoms listed below, or simply say they just “don’t feel right” after a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body, may have a concussion or other serious brain injury. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has offered these suggestions to help protect your teens from concussion or other serious brain injury.

Signs Observed by Parents

  • Appears dazed or stunned.
  • Forgets an instruction, is confused about an assignment or position, or is unsure of the game, score, or opponent.
  • Moves clumsily.
  • Answers questions slowly.
  • Loses consciousness (even briefly).
  • Shows mood, behavior, or personality changes.
  • Can’t recall events prior to or after a hit or fall.

Symptoms Reported by Teens

  • Headache or “pressure” in head.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Balance problems or dizziness, or double or blurry vision.
  • Bothered by light or noise.
  • Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy.
  • Confusion, or concentration or memory problems.
  • Just not “feeling right,” or “feeling down.”

When these symptoms go undetected or unreported they can lead to seizures, memory loss, impaired communication skills, emotional instability, and many other disabilities. Symptoms may be as obvious as a coma or as subtle as a change in emotional behavior. Seek out medical help at the first moment of symptoms showing up.

Serious Danger Signs to Look Out For

In rare cases, a dangerous collection of blood (hematoma) may form and squeeze the brain against the skull. Call 9-1-1 or take your teen player or child to the emergency department right away if, after a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body, he or she has one or more of these danger signs:

  • One pupil larger than the other.
  • Drowsiness or inability to wake up.
  • A headache that gets worse and does not go away.
  • Slurred speech, weakness, numbness, or decreased coordination.
  • Repeated vomiting or nausea, convulsions or seizures (shaking or twitching).
  • Unusual behavior, increased confusion, restlessness, or agitation.
  • Loss of consciousness (passed out/knocked out). Even a brief loss of consciousness should be taken seriously.

The CDC reports, “Teens who continue to play while having concussion symptoms or who return to play too soon—while the brain is still healing—have a greater chance of getting another concussion. A repeat concussion that occurs while the brain is still healing from the first injury can be very serious and can affect a teen for a lifetime. It can even be fatal.”

Michigan Law Protects Student Athletes

Michigan was the 39th U.S. state to enact a law that regulates sports concussions and return to athletic activity. Public Acts 342 & 343 of 2012 went into play on June 30th, 2013 yet most parents remain unaware of what the sports concussion legislation requires:

  • All adults including coaches, employees, volunteers, and anyone else involved with a youth athletic activity to complete a concussion awareness on-line training program.
  • The organizing entity must provide educational materials on the signs/symptoms and consequences of concussions to each youth athlete and their parents/guardians and obtain a signed statement acknowledging receipt of the information for the organizing entity to keep on record.
  • The law also requires immediate removal of an athlete from physical participation in an athletic activity who is suspected of sustaining a concussion.
  • The student athlete must then receive written clearance from an appropriate health professional before he or she can return to physical activity. Only a health professional licensed in the State of Michigan or otherwise authorized to engage in a health profession in the State of Michigan and whose scope of practice within that health profession includes the recognition, treatment, and management of concussions can authorize an athlete to return to play.

Baseline testing before returning to play is not required under Michigan Law, but it is recommended as a best practice. 

The organizational entity such as a school, state or local parks and recreation department or commission or other state or local entity, a nonprofit or for-profit entity, a public or private entity, could be held liable for non-compliance of these laws in a Michigan court. The informational pieces available on the Michigan Department of Community Health should be shared with all parties to prevent legal action in the case of student athlete brain injuries.

Brain Injury Victims Need Support

Traumatic brain injury can have a profound effect on the quality of life, including the inability to go to school or pursue a career playing sports, inability to interact appropriately with friends and family, loss of normal body skills and function, as well as other ailments and problems. For over 40 years, The Lee Steinberg Law Firm, P.C. has helped Michigan traumatic brain injury victims win their case and collect the compensation they deserve.

Please call Lee Free and Michigan traumatic brain injury lawyers at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) or fill out the Free Case Evaluation Form so we can answer any questions you may have about traumatic brain injury. You pay nothing until we settle your Michigan personal injury case. Let us help you today.