Posted On November 14, 2016 In Personal Injury
There is no denying that football is an important part of Texas culture. Books and television series have focused on the topic. Texans proudly wear their favorite team colors, and millions tune in every time there is a big game (Red River Showdown, A&M and Texas).
While there is plenty to love about football, there is no denying it can be dangerous. Concussions and chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease, have captured the public spotlight. Abdominal injuries and spinal cord injuries can also harm players.
The good news is that many public health problems have solutions. Should football injuries be any different?
Football helmets can prevent serious head injuries, but they cannot stop players from sustaining concussions. Concussions happen when the brain moves and twists within the skull. Many occur because of whiplash caused by tackles. A major challenge for making football safer will be how to design equipment that can cushion the brain from whiplash. Researchers and private companies have risen to the challenge.
Vicis, a company created by a pediatric neurosurgeon, believes its helmet can reduce concussions in football. The Zero1 helmet uses a multilayered shell to protect the brain. According to the creators, these extra layers can absorb the impact force that causes the brain to rattle within the skull.
Vicis is not the only company interested in stopping football’s brain injury epidemic. Researchers at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Q30 Innovations have created a small neckband that might prevent concussions. The Q-Collar works by increasing blood volume in the cranium to cushion the brain from whiplash.
Abdominal injuries are another health risk football players face. EvoShield has created an impact-resistant undershirt that may offer protection from these injuries. The shirt uses gel that hardens and disperses impact force, possibly protecting players from broken bones and ruptured organs.
Parents should be concerned about football injuries. Although it is rare, children have suffered permanent disabilities and death while playing the sport. Some of these deaths are caused by second impact syndrome. Players can succumb to second impact syndrome after suffering back-to-back concussions within a short timeframe.
For these reasons, many states have guidelines in place that address when students can return to play after suffering a concussion. Depending on the state, these policies may require coaches and athletic directors to recognize concussion symptoms so athletes can be removed from play.
Texas has Natasha’s law, which political sleuths may recognize as House Bill 2038. In our state, a student athlete is removed from any sport if a coach, physician, health care professional, parent or legal guardian believes the student may have sustained a concussion. Coaches and athletic trainers must undergo training on how to respond to concussions. Students cannot return to play until meeting specific requirements. Keep in mind, this law only covers public schools.
It is unlikely Texas, or America for that matter, will ever give up football as a sport. Our two examples are one of many possible ways football could become safer for student, college and professional athletes.
Interact with the Texas personal injury attorneys at Mike Love & Associates, LLC on Facebook and Twitter to let us know how you would make football safer.