Car accidents are the number one cause of concussions in young people, but sports are a close second; half of those sports-related concussions happen in football. Cars, of course, are regulated by the government and insurance agencies, no such rules apply to football equipment.
With no hard and fast rules, and dozens of positions an athlete might play, coming up with guidelines for football equipment can be difficult — especially now that parents have become focused on the longterm consequences of concussion damage. The problem is that there’s no clear-cut medical research pointing the way to a correct choice about football protective equipment.
Many high school teams are investing in higher-rated helmets, new equipment that they hope will protect from injuries. Young people are especially vulnerable to brain injuries, according to the CDC, and multiple concussions can lead to permanent brain damage. According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, up to 20% of college and high school football players suffer a brain injury in any given season.
Concussions have actually been a high school safety priority since the early nineties, but thanks to the NFL lawsuits, which now have some 3,500 plaintiffs, parents are beginning to focus on it as well. Many are trying to change the sport from the bottom up, fighting a culture that encourages hard hits and “taking it” rather than sitting out to recover from injury.
The highest-ranked helmet for concussion protection is the Riddell 360, which comes with a list price of $375.99 per helmet — expensive to replace if you’re looking at a 120 person team. The good news is that these helmets are ranked independently as better at protecting brains; the bad news is that they’re very expensive and not 100% effective.
While overall injuries in high school football have gone down over the past 20 years thanks to new equipment, rules, and training, the number of reported concussions has gone up. Whether this is from increased awareness or an actual increase of incidence is unclear.
If your child received a concussion or traumatic brain injury (TBI) as a result of negligence on the part of the school or sports league, you may have a personal injury case. The attorneys at Strom Law, LLC can help. We offer free consultations to help get you on the road to recovery, so contact us today. 803.252.4800.