E.g., 09/2017
E.g., 09/2017

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Football injuries and concussions

Football season is almost here and many young athletes have already started training! For some, especially in Texas, this is one of the most exciting times of the year. But is football really safe? 

Football recently attracted concern from parents after the results of recent studies pointed to high intensity contact sports as a direct link to a degenerative brain disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). CTE is caused by repetitive trauma to the head. Due to the nature of contact sports, like football, players experience blows to the head on a regular basis. As a result, many parents question whether or not their child is safe playing football.

The big takeaway  

The findings of CTE in high school and college football players is really not surprising because football contact carries an enormous amount of force. Just like with any organ, the brain has a limit for how much force it can tolerate. 

No matter what the sport, there is always a risk for injury whenever your child steps onto the field or court; however, unlike most injuries, head trauma treatment is a little trickier. Concussion management continues to evolve and there is still a lot to learn. It’s also important to always have your child evaluated by a provider who is up-to-date on the most recent treatment recommendations.

As parents, it’s crucial to be aware of the warning signs and symptoms of concussions. Concussions should not be taken lightly! Head injuries can have very serious consequences if not taken seriously.

As players, you should be honest about your symptoms and never be afraid to report a potential concussion. Remember, you only have one brain, so it needs to be protected.  

One of the biggest mistakes an athlete can make is returning to the game after an injury too soon. Not giving the body enough time to heal properly will usually make a previous injury go from bad to worse. 

How to make football safer     

Despite changes in helmet technology, the brain still moves inside the skull when impacted after contact. The best way to minimize injuries on the field is by being a good sport. Following the rules and playing a clean game is the best way to decrease concussion risks. Sportsmanship across all activities, not just football, has the potential to decrease injuries. Players who lead by example and hold others accountable will help improve the sporting culture as a whole. 

To learn more about sports medicine at Texas Children's, click here.

Post by:

Kristin M. Ernest, MD

Dr. Ernest welcomes patients of all ages and fitness levels to her clinic.  Her background as an athletic trainer, paramedic and firefighter provides a unique perspective on injury evaluation and treatment.  She appreciates the importance of individualized treatment plans to ensure successful...

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