I am researching how common head injuries are in high school sports, as well as the measures that are being taken to make sports safer for athletes. As athletes are getting bigger, stronger, and faster with each generation there needs to be more precaution taken so that people are still able to play the game they love, yet still compete at their desired level. Due to how frequent head injuries like concussions are in sports, it’s necessary that people know how to tell if they are concussed or if someone playing is concussed. People also need to be educated in how to handle a situation where someone may have a concussion. There are specific steps that need to be taken to ensure someone gets the medical attention they need. My research has been primarily focused around football since I used to play in high school and have been effected by concussions throughout my entire life. Lives can be greatly changed by head injuries whether the injury be career ending, life changing, or even life threatening.
Boden, Barry P., Robin L. Tacchetti, Robert C. Cantu, Sarah B. Knowles, and Frederick O. Mueller. “Catastrophic Head Injuries in High School and College Football Players.” The American Journal of Sports Medicine, 9 Mar. 2007. Web.
This article, written by Barry P. Boden, Robin L. Tacchetti, Robert C. Cantu, Sarah B. Knowles, and Frederick O. Mueller, specifically targets football when talking about catastrophic head injuries. The article get its information from a case study done over a span of 13 years, 1989 to 2002. There are three different categories of a catastrophic injury: fatal (the injury causes death), nonfatal (the injury causes a permanent disability), and serious (severely injured but no permanent damage). There were 94 total catastrophic injuries, 92 of which happened at the high school level. That is an alarming 97.9% of the total injuries which causes much raise for concern. The authors go on to back up this statistic by saying at the high school level “the brain is not fully developed so the injury threshold is much lower” and how “the skull is thinner providing much less protection to the brain”. Given these reasons by the licensed doctors that collaborated to write this article, even more precaution should be taken at the high school level.
Bretlow, Jason M. “High School Football Players Face Bigger Concussion Risk.” Debbie Wilson’s Family Brain Injury and Medical Cannabis Blog. N.p., 31 Oct. 2013. Web. 21 Nov. 2016. http://noahsarkconsulting.blogspot.com/2013_10_01_archive.html#.WDKsgYWcHIU
This graph is made up of data from a study done by the Institute of Medicine, funded by the NFL. As it’s shown in the graph, the study found that high school football players suffer an average of 11.2 concussions for every 10,000 games and practice. Compared to the other high school sports recorded in the study, football beats out every sport by a convincing margin. The next closest sport is men’s lacrosse, only amounting to around 7 concussions for every 10,000 games and practice. Lacrosse seasons are also longer than football seasons, including more games and practices per season which you’d think would increase their rate, yet it doesn’t. It should also be considered that not all concussion are reported by players, some even going unnoticed. The rate of concussions for every 10,000 games and practices in college football however, is beaten by the rates in collegiate wrestling and men’s ice hockey.
Cantu, Robert C., Lawrence S. Chin, and Roya Saffary. “Sports Medicine: Concussions in Sports.” Sage Journals. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, 17 June 2011. Web. 21 Nov. 2016. http://ajl.sagepub.com/content/early/2011/06/09/1559827611411649.full.pdf+html
The article “Sports Medicine: Concussions in Sports”, credited to Roya Saffary, MD, Lawrence S. Chin, MD, FACS, and Robert C. Cantu, MD, begins with informing the reader of the measures that have been taken within the development of football and legally to ensure a safer sport. It continues with statistics taken in a study over three years regarding which sports most head injuries occur, “About 63% of concussions occurred in boys’ football, 10% in wrestling, 6% in boys’ and girls’ soccer” (Cantu 2). All sports are mentioned when talking about head injuries but the one that primarily sticks out is football. The authors discuss how even with the advancements in protective gear such as the facemask, “the risk of sports-related head injuries remains high with stronger and faster athletes” (Cantu 2) and how the addition of the facemask “may paradoxically increase risk taking and result in blows to the head that have higher energy” (Cantu 2). The article then continues with procedures people should take if they have suffered a head injury or someone around them has.
Gessel, Luke M., Sarah K. Fields, Christy L. Collins, Randall W. Dick, and R. Dawn Comstock. “Concussions Among United States High School and Collegiate Athletes.” Journal of Athletic Training. National Athletic Trainers Association, 2007. Web. 21 Nov. 2016. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2140075/
“Concussions Among United States High School and Collegiate Athletes”, written by Luke M. Gessel, Sarah K. Fields, Christy L. Collins, Randall W. Dick, and R. Dawn Comstock, discusses the 2005-2006 High School Sports-Related Injury Surveillance Study. The study was taken through simple random samples to select schools from eight different sampling stratas. The sampling stratas were compiled of the geographic location of a school as well as the enrollment of the school. The article also includes charts depicting specific data regarding concussions from each of the different sports studied. One of the graphs, for example, shows how concussions were obtained in each sport whether it had been by contact with another player, contact with the playing equipment, or contact with the playing field. The authors of this article claimed that “by identifying patterns that could predict concussions, we may be able to reduce concussion rates through targeted, evidence-based interventions” thanks to the data from the study. Being able to reduce concussions rates by any means would be a huge step for all sports and players. The authors also argue that the high concussion rate of 8.9% they found from the study could be due to “increased awareness of, and subsequent diagnosis and treatment of, concussions”. Since the awareness of concussions increased, thanks to educational campaigns such as “Heads Up: Concussion in High School Sports”, doctors and athletic trainers may have been more eager to diagnose someone with a concussion and take the precautions necessary instead of just diagnosing it as a blow to the head. More studies need to be done to investigate patterns, concussions rates, and risk factors if we want to continue the development of effective concussion preventive measures.
Healy, Michelle. “1.35 Million Youths a Year Have Serious Sports Injuries.” USA Today. Gannett, 06 Aug. 2013. Web. 21 Nov. 2016. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/08/06/injuries-athletes-kids-sports/2612429/
This data set is based off emergency room reports gathered by Safe Kids Worldwide in 2012. The data set shows the number of concussions among athletes 19 years old or younger in popular sports, the sports being: football, basketball, soccer, baseball, softball, volleyball, wrestling, cheerleading, gymnastics, and track and field. The number of concussions from the reports due to football was 58,080, which was about 25,000 more than that of the runner-up. This is expected since football is a collision sport not just a contact sport, but looking at the total number alongside other sports is shocking. Even the total number of concussions of the runner-up (Basketball) plus the total number of the third most (Soccer) doesn’t add up to equal the same amount as football. The data set also shows that 21% of the most common diagnoses see in emergency rooms for sports injuries include the face or head. This data set proves how frequent head injuries are compared to injuries to different parts of the body and how much more frequent concussions are in football than any other sport.
PBSNewsHour. “How High School Athletes Deal with Concussions.” YouTube. YouTube, 03 Feb. 2014. Web. 21 Nov. 2016. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sA7aRP5BIzk
This video is a news channel doing a special report on concussions in high school sports around the nation. Several students are interviewed during the report, telling their own stories of when they obtained concussions in games or practices. Alex Borowski of Windsor High School in California shares his experience saying how his coaches “didn’t take me out until the third quarter, when my coaches noticed how I was acting. You could even see it on film I didn’t know I was doing”. Symptoms of a concussion may take a little bit to become noticeable but Borowski should have known better that something wasn’t right. Another student interviewed later in the report said how when taking the required impact test, he tested low on purpose. This way, when he would score low after suffering an actual concussion no one would take note of it. The scores of impact tests should be taken much more seriously, maybe having a required minimum score before the player is allowed to play again.
Shaw, Gina. “Football Players and Concussions: Prevention, Effects, and More.” WebMD. WebMD, 28 Jan. 2013. Web. 21 Nov. 2016. http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/football-player-concussions#1
The article “Football Tackles Concussion Risk” by Gina Shaw, addresses the lack of knowledge people have about blows to the head as well as what’s being done to protect players. Several doctors provide their input on head injuries, concluding that several minor blows to the head can add up to a severe amount of damage over time. In the article, Boston University’s neurosurgery professor Robert Cantu, MD, claims that, “‘It’s not as simple as how many concussions someone’s had – it’s total brain trauma’ that matters” (Shaw). Dr. Cantu backs up this statement by saying how “Linemen who’ve had almost no concussions have the majority of the cases of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, because on every play they get their brains rattled, trying to block with their head” (Shaw). It’s the buildup of these constant blows to their heads that end up amounting to more than a few concussions. Every play players are using their heads to make tackles or block, increasing total brain trauma. It’s included in the article that a major problem with the sport of football is how high school athletes may have inadequate resources to prevent their players from suffering concussions. Per Connecticut neurologist Anthony Lessi, “Many high schools can’t afford to have an athletic trainer. I say that means you can’t afford to have a program” (Shaw). If schools fail to ensure their players’ safety, then they shouldn’t have athletic programs in the first place. Players of all sports deserve the comfort of thought that if they get hurt, there’s medical attention at the ready for them.
In the graph I created from my data set, you can see that the number of concussions in football is well above the number of concussions above all the other popular sports included. I created a bar graph to display the values from the data set. Track and Field was included as one of the sports recorded in the study that the data set came from but there were no reported concussions from that sport so I chose to leave it out altogether. Some of the other popular sports included are considered contact sports but football is more than a contact sport since every single play there is some sort of hitting. Football is in its own league when talking about contact, it should be considered more of a collision sport. The great amount of contact that takes place in football is supported by the graph and how the number of concussions is much larger than all other sports.