Football season is underway in Southern California. From the youth leagues of Los Angeles to the high schools gridirons of Riverside and Los Angeles, countless boys and young men have taken to the field with dreams of a championship season. While youth sports teach kids valuable life lessons of teamwork, discipline and hard work, it often comes with a price. New statistics reveal more children are suffering from sports related injuries. According to a study conducted by Institute of Sports Medicine at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago, nearly 40 percent of emergency room visits for children ages 5 to 14 are the result of sports related injuries. The trend seems to be getting worse.
While injuries are a simple reality of playing any sport, they are particularly dangerous in football. Six years ago, the NFL reached $1 billion settlement with more than 20,000 former players who suffered brain injuries. It is unlikely most of those players will ever see a dime. The rise of brain injuries among former NFL players has been well documented. The movie Concussion, starring Will Smith, brought to light the dangers CTE, a chemical that forms in brain due to repeated head trauma. CTE has been linked to depression and has blamed for the suicide deaths of several NFL players, including former USC and San Diego Charger hall of fame linebacker Junior Seau. But long before football players ever reach college or the NFL, many have already suffered concussions playing youth and high school football.
Regardless of age, football players risk significant injury on any given play. But youth football players are particularly vulnerable. Because children are still developing physically and mentally, a greater emphasis has been placed on protecting young people from head and brain injuries. When it comes to youth football, two of most important factors are coaching and equipment.
The majority of youth football coaches in Los Angeles are volunteers who give their time to help teach children the sport. However, far too many do not properly understand teaching the fundamentals, such as proper tackling and blocking techniques. For example, many brain and spinal cord injuries are the result of tacklers putting their head down while delivering a blow to the ball carrier. To help combat this problem, the NFL along with USA Football has developed a comprehensive safety program called Heads Up Football, which stresses tackling and coaching techniques.
Although helmets reduce the amount of catastrophic injuries and mouth guards reduce the amount of dental issues, neither has conclusively shown to protect young athletes from concussions. Until recently every change has been made to change helmets. Due to greater awareness there is greater emphasis to design helmets for specific positions. For example, receivers and running backs often take different types of hits than offensive and defensive linemen. These helmets would address the specific types of head trauma for different types of players.
Youth sports should always be about having fun. The last thing any parent should have to worry about is their child suffering a catastrophic brain injury. Concussions don’t just happen to NFL and college players, they can happen to football players at any age. The Los Angeles personal injury attorneys at JML Law are ready to help. Our legal utilizes an aggressive and comprehensive approach to help place each client in the best position to succeed. To learn more, contact the legal team at JML for a free initial consultation to discuss your case.