Boxing and Brain Damage Research
How to Avoid Football Related Brain Injuries
Working to avoid any football related injuries is important. Football can be a rough and intense sport and cause a whole host of injuries to the players. Head and brain injuries are common in football and increasing in number. Research estimates that about 85% of college football players have experienced at least one head injury that resulted in a concussion during the sports season.Due to this high rate, it's important to learn how to avoid and prevent these serious and potentially life threatening head injuries.
Preventing Football Related Brain Injuries
Wear a helmet and wear it correctly.Helmets are one of the first lines of defense when it comes to preventing and avoiding head injuries in football.Players need to wear helmets at all times, even during practice to ensure they avoid any injuries.
- Some studies have shown that wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of head injuries by over 80%.
- If you or your child is just starting football, make sure to spend time with the coach to learn how to get fitted for an appropriate helmet and how to wear it correctly.
- Players always need to wear a helmet, even in times of practice when they think it may be unlikely to get an injury.
- Note that although helmets are one of the best defenses to head injuries, helmets are not designed to completely prevent head injuries. Unfortunately, there is no "concussion-proof" helmet.
Practice rugby-style tackling.Rugby-style tackling is gaining headway with college and professional football players because it is safer than football-style tackling.By tackling this way, you are protecting your own head and the opposing teammate's head as well.
- To practice rugby-style tackling, you use your shoulder to take down other players near the hip or thigh.
Engage in good sportsmanship conduct.Another important part of preventing and avoiding head injuries in football is how the player conducts himself in practice and on the field.
- All players should attempt to avoid hits to the head and neck area. Many head, neck and spine injuries occur during tackles in football.
- Players should also be aware of appropriate tackling techniques and all of the appropriate rules regarding tackling.
- Lastly, players should always maintain good sportsmanship like conduct and report any issues where other players are not engaging in safe or appropriate behavior.
Report all injuries to the appropriate staff.Many times, head injuries and resulting complications are missed, due to players not reporting their injury to the appropriate staff member or medical team.
- No matter how minor the injury, all injuries at all times should be reported to the coaching staff and medical personnel so the player can be appropriately evaluated.
- If a player experiences any hits to the head or any head injuries, they should always be assessed for a possible concussion or other brain injuries. They also need to be monitored to make sure no delayed signs or symptoms appear.
- Talk to the coach about any previous injuries. The coaching staff should always be aware of any previous injuries - especially head or brain injuries - to any player.
Put on all other safety equipment.In addition to helmets, it's important to put on and wear other safety equipment.
- Although items like mouth guards and pads may not be directly related to preventing head injuries, it's important to ensure that you or your child is wearing all the required safety and protective gear and equipment.
- Also, make sure that the protective gear is the appropriate size and is worn correctly.
Taking Action if You Notice Symptoms of a Brain Injury
Recognize the symptoms of a concussion.Concussions occur where there is a traumatic hit to the head causing the brain to shake inside the skull.One of the best defenses to preventing serious, long-term injuries from a hit to the head or concussion is being aware of the symptoms.
- Studies have shown that many football players had experienced one or more signs or symptoms of a concussion but did not seek medical treatment as they were unaware the symptoms were associated with a concussion.
- Typical symptoms reported by players include: headache or pressure, nausea and vomiting, difficulty balancing, sensitivity to light and noise, confusion, difficulty concentrating and mentally foggy.
- Typical signs that are apparent to others include: appearance of being dazed or confused, moves clumsily, is forgetful, answers questions slowly, is unconscious and shows mood or behavior changes.
Be aware of symptoms of a epidural hematoma.This type of injury is more severe than a concussion. It results after a traumatic hit to the head causing blood to accumulate between the brain and the skull.
- Typical symptoms reported by players include: severe headache, vomiting, dizziness, increased pupil size, and sudden weakness in one arm or leg.
- Symptoms noticed by others may include: slurred speech, convulsions or seizures, difficulty recognizing people or places and decreased coordination.
Seek medical attention immediately.If you or your child has experienced a head or neck hit or injury during a football game, it's important to seek out medical attention.
- Even if the player is not exhibiting signs, if a hit to the head was experienced the player should be evaluated by the team medical personnel to make sure they do not have any signs or symptoms of a concussion.
- If the player is exhibiting any signs of a concussion after a game or practice, they should be brought to the ER immediately for evaluation and treatment.
- Do not delay in seeking medical treatment for head injuries. It's when too much time has passed with no intervention that serious or long-term complications may result.
Take the appropriate time to rest and recover.If you have experienced a head or neck hit or have been diagnosed and treated for a concussion or other head injury, it's important to take the appropriate amount of time to rest and recover.
- Players that have experienced a head or brain injury may need several days or weeks to fully recover.
- Players who are in school - either grade school or college - may also need to take time away from their studies. Consider spending fewer hours at school, taking more breaks and asking for more time to complete assignments.
- It may also be recommended for players to disengage in physical activity and spend much less time reading or looking at computer screens.
Do not return to play without medical clearance.Although players may be eager to return to football practices and games, they should not do so or be allowed to return without a medical clearance.
- Players that return to sports too soon are at an increased risk for getting a second head or brain injury. These 2nd injuries generally result in more permanent and serious damage.
- Players should not return to any type of practice or physical activity until cleared by a physician.
- Brain and head injuries during football games and practices are very serious. Do not delay in seeking medical treatment.
- Although concussions can cause serious or permanent damage, if treated promptly, you decrease your risk of life-long complications.
Video: Developing Brain Injuries
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