Noble McIntyre on November 23, 2015
There are few things more wholesome and all-American than high school football, right? But, the popular sport (for players and spectators) is coming under scrutiny because of increased attention to serious injuries that happen on the field. News9 reported this month that there have been three serious football injuries this season that have required that Oklahoma City high school players be airlifted off the fields. One member of the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association (OSSAA) and former football coach quoted in the story said that “It’s what you accept when you participate,” and that serious injuries are part of playing football. But, a junior linebacker in Deer Creek suffered a head injury after a routine tackle in November, a player at Bartlesville Wesleyan Christian High School died in September after a history of concussions and a brain bleed, and a Bethany High School player suffered a spinal injury in October that was the result of a tackle.
Injuries will happen, but there are things that parents and coaches can do to help keep teens safer on the field:
Wear the proper helmet. The National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) has established safety requirements for helmets so that they have a hard plastic shell and a padded interior. A coach or sporting goods professional can help find a helmet with the proper fit. A helmet also has a rigid facemask from coated carbon steel and a chin strap with protective chin cup. The facemask should be properly secured and specific to the player’s position. The chin strap should be snugly fastened at all times.
Use the correct uniform equipment. That means leg pads, shoulder pads, shoes or cleats, mouth guard, athletic supporter and cup, padded neck rolls, forearm pads, padded or non-padded gloves, flak jacket to protect the ribcage and abdomen.
Tripping, facemask grabbing, blocking below the knees, clipping and helmet-on-helmet contact are against the rules of football. Yes, the game involves hitting opposing players, but if done incorrectly or in a way that breaks the rules, there is increased risk of injury. Here are a few tips to pass on to the football player in your life:
There should always be a plan in place in case of serious injury, even during practice time. The coach or other responsible adult should always be present, and there should be someone available who knows how to administer first aid.
The bottom line is that injuries will happen in any full-contact sport. But, the smartest, safest thing to do is to know the rules before you play and follow them. If you do find that a loved one has suffered a brain injury from football or any other accident, we can help. The traumatic brain injury attorneys at McIntyre Law, P.C. are experienced in getting plaintiffs the compensation they need for medical and other living expenses. Contact us for more information.