Brain injuries remain threat for football players

Football players and coaches in Florida and across the country should take a close look at a recent CNN story on brain injuries. It could inspire coaches and players of all ages to take extra precautions to lessen the biggest of hits on the football field.

Football fans love the biggest collisions. Just listen to the cheers in a stadium when a safety levels a wide receiver or a linebacker pummels a running back. The fast-paced violence is one of the reasons why football remains the country’s most popular pro sport.

But these big hits can also lead to serious brain injuries for players, something a CNN story on chronic traumatic encephalopathy looks at in-depth. This disease, often referred to as CTE, is a degenerative disease found in football players and other athletes who suffer repeated hits to their heads.

The CNN story looks at the case of a 17-year-old high school football player in Kansas. When he died shortly after the final football game of his senior year, an autopsy revealed that he died of second-impact syndrome, a condition that occurs when players are hit in their heads before their brains have the chance to heal from an earlier concussion.

The young player collapsed while sitting on the bench shortly before halftime. As his parents tried to wake him, the player began to suffer seizures. He was eventually airlifted to a nearby medical center. Early the following morning, the young player passed away.

It’s difficult to tell what precautions could have prevented this tragedy. After the player complained of headaches earlier in the season, he was treated by medical professionals who eventually gave him a clean bill of health. He was required to remain off the football field for three weeks after his examination.

The CNN story highlights an issue that’s impacting all athletes, from the Pop Warner level all the way to the pros.

Source: CNN, “Brain bank examines athletes’ hard hits,” Nadia Kounang, Jan. 27, 2012