Updated February 20, 2021
Most people today are aware of the concussion risk to athletes, especially those in contact sports such as football. A study done by the National Center for Biotechnology Information found that 32% of young people under the age of nineteen suffer concussions or traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Rises in adolescent concussions are largely due to sports- and recreation-related head impacts.
Indiana is already leading the nation when it comes to recognition of the dangers. The state enacted a law in 2016 requiring youth-athletics coaches to complete training to help them identify the symptoms of concussions in their players and take action to address them. The law was fully in effect as of July 2017. Before the law was fully enacted, Brebeuf Jesuit began using a system that actually monitors the hits players take on the field and relays warnings to coaches on the sidelines to keep them informed of potential problems.
It’s becoming more common to hear people suggest that the game of football is simply too dangerous and that it should be abolished. Athletes cite not only the number of injuries to young players but also the lifelong effects suffered by professionals, a problem the NFL is still facing, according to Harvard University health studies. However, others have hopes that the game can continue to be played as long as steps are taken to make it safer.
Some of those steps include changing the way hits are executed, developing concussion-resistant helmets, and finding ways to better monitor player health. Brebeuf Jesuit implemented one of these monitoring systems: InSite from sports-equipment manufacturer Riddell which became available in 2013. InSite uses sensors in special helmets to detect hard hits. If an impact is significant, an alert is sent using wireless technology to a hand-held device on the sidelines. Coaches can then take action. Other users of the system have noted that it issues many false alarms, but most would agree that that’s better than letting potentially serious injuries go unaddressed.
Starting in the fall of 2019, Indiana University researchers created computerized mouth-guards to assess G-force. Their focus is on sub-concussive hits, particularly in high school football players over time. The researchers are studying the impact, neurological imaging, eye movement, cognitive functioning, and biomarkers (blood and saliva), all through a mouthguard. The goal is to make recommendations for safer policies for the athletes and raise the number of high school football participants. The team has just received a grant that will allow them to continue and expand their research.
When it comes to worries about concussions and TBI, youth athletes and children shouldn’t be overlooked. A surprising number receive such injuries every year. Around 10 percent of playground injuries—more than 20,000 each year—are also categorized as TBI. That’s been the fastest-growing type of playground injury over the past decade.
Some sports and play injuries are caused when activities take an unsafe turn or because something truly unforeseeable took place. But the stark reality is that few of these injuries are indisputable “accidents.” Most are the result of unsafe conditions or take place when supervising adults make poor decisions.
If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of a concussion or traumatic brain injury, contact the Indianapolis Brain Injury Attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The lawyers at WKW can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.
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