High School Football Game Forfeited After Nine Head Injuries
Donna O’Donnell Figurski
A high school football team from Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada, forfeited its game after nine players left the game with possible head injuries. The coach took the precaution of having all players checked at the hospital. Before going to hospital, four players had already displayed symptoms of having a serious concussion (nausea, vomiting), and they still showed symptoms two days later when the article was written.
Illegal hits were not the problem, but the violence of football became even more obvious when the forfeiting team was clearly outmatched by its opponent. The score was 35-0 about halfway through the game.
It is now known that players of US and Canadian football have a high risk of developing a brain injury, and the problem is particularly serious for youth, with their still-developing brains. Concussions are the most obvious brain injury, but the multiple subconcussive hits common in US and Canadian football can also lead to brain damage, which may not become apparent for several years. A highly-cited research paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that the degenerative brain disease CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) was found in a low but significant fraction (21%) of players who only played football through high school. CTE was more commonly found (>90%) in the autopsied brains of players who played professionally or only through college. Even with a possible bias in the brains studied, the findings are alarming. As a result of the new knowledge, some players are retiring early (1,2), and parents are becoming concerned. (1. Full story and 2. my radio interview of Cyndy Feasel, Mary Seau, and Debra Pyka, all of whom lost a loved one to football)
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