Sports has always held a prevalent status in American culture. It was sports that came back first after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City. Sports have been a bonding point between fathers and their children for generations. The idea of going out to the stadium to see a favorite team is something the generates excitement in the young and old alike. The first time the extra green grass of an NFL stadium was seen is an important part of many US childhood memories.
Statistics On Youth Football Concussions
1. High school athletes suffer 2 million injures, 500,000 doctor visits and 30,000 hospitalizations each year.
2. 96% of Americans believe that a health evaluation before playing sports is important for youth athletes.
3. The chances of suffering a catastrophic injury while playing football when compared to other high school sports: 3x greater.
4. Only 42% of high schools have access to athletic training services.
5. 1 out of every 2 second impact injuries that occur after a concussion result in the fatality of a young athlete.
6. 15.8% of football players who sustain a concussion severe enough to cause loss of consciousness return to play the same day.
7. Concussion rates for children under the age of 19 who play in football have doubled in the last decade, even though overall sports participation has declined.
8. More than 248,000 children visited hospital emergency departments in 2009 for concussions and other traumatic brain injuries related to sports and recreation.
9. Sports injuries that are concussion related account for 1 out of every 5 childhood TBIs that occur.
10. The majority of high level impacts in youth football occur during practices.
11. 62% of all sports injuries occur during practices, not during games.
12. About 27% of parents do not take their child’s practices as seriously as they do their games.
13. 5-10% of athletes will experience a concussion in any given sport season.
14. The chances of a youth football athlete suffering a concussion over the course of 1 season: 75%.
15. Retired NFL players in their 50s are five times more likely to have been diagnosed with a dementia-related syndrome.
16. Up to 20% of youth players will sustain a brain injury over the course of a season.
17. Kids who have had one concussion are 6 times more likely to experience a secondary concussion.
18. Pop Warner, the largest youth football program in the US, saw participation drop 9.5% between 2010-12.
19. In a 2013 study, it was found that youth football players are injured at a rate that is 3 to 4 times higher than older players during games, while practice injuries were the same.
20. It is estimated that 53% of high school athletes have sustained at least 1 concussion before participating in high school sports.
21. The percentage of collegiate athletes who have a history of multiple concussions before playing their first college game: 36%.
22. It is important to manage concussions early because the frontal lobe continues to develop until the age of 25.
23. If a second concussion is received, then a third is up to 4x more likely.
24. After a third concussion, the chances of a fourth concussion are 9 times more likely while playing the same sport.
25. Current CDC estimates reveal that up to 3.8 million concussions occur every year.
26. Fewer than 10% of youth football related concussions involve losing consciousness for any period of time.
27. 85% of those who suffer a concussion will suffer from a headache. Up to 80% of concussions will also cause dizziness.
28. A football player may receive up to 1,500 blows to the head during a season.
29. The amount of gravity recorded in a hit to the head that causes a concussion in football: 40g.
30. The impact speed of a football player who tackles a player who is stationary: 25 mph.
31. Youth athletes typically recover from a concussion within 2 weeks.
32. In 10-20% of cases, symptoms can persist for weeks, months, and occasionally even longer.
33. Cumulative concussions as a youth lead to an increase in the likelihood of a catastrophic head injury by 39%.
34. High school football accounts for 47 percent of all reported sports concussions.
35. 3,800,000 sports concussions were reported in 2012, which is double what was reported in 2002.
36. The number of student athletes who report having two or more concussions in the same year: 33%.
Interesting Facts with Sports
Football is a popular sport because it involves speed, strength, and violence all in one package. Men sacrifice their bodies in order to chase after an elusive win. That combination, however, has also led to a number of concussion-related symptoms in players over the years. Because of the damage of severe hits that happen to players in practice and in games, it is believed that those who have suffered repetitive injuries are at a higher risk of developing later-in-life symptoms that can include suicidal thoughts and planning.
This has brought a focus to youth football when it comes to concussion awareness. As children grow, their brains need to have a certain environment to learn and be productive. Concussions that aren’t properly treated in children can lead to learn disabilities and future health problems that can affect the quality of their life. The only problem is that many of those who are trusted to protect the youth of the US from concussions while playing football are failing to do so.
Concussion protocols have taken the NFL by storm. Players who suffer a head injury are instantly given an evaluation before being allowed to return. The same isn’t always true at the youth football level. Instead of clearing players to play when they should be seen by a doctor, it is important to be aware of the facts of youth football concussions so that every child has a fair chance to have a future in athletics. It needs to be taught from an early age that wearing padding and wearing a helmet doesn’t mean that more force needs to be used.
With a helmet on, the human body becomes a missile. The head is the tip of the missile. That’s why so many concussions are occurring in youth football right now.
Rates of Concussion
Concussion rates in youth football are something to take seriously. Players want to play in games. It’s up to the coaches and the parents to make sure that doesn’t happen.
The only problem is that Americans are often bred with a win at all costs attitude. Players are made to feel like they are letting down the team when they get injured. This causes them to want to go back into a game and play hurt because if they don’t do it, then they feel like they are betraying everyone who is important to them. By changing the culture of youth football, changes in how concussions are addressed in practices and games can become possible.
Because so many incidents occur at practice, it is also important for youth football coaches to be trained in the signs and symptoms of a concussion. Many Pop Warner teams don’t have medical staff that is on hand to help children who might get injured during a game, which means the coach is the front line response. The coach is the adult. It is up to the coach to make sure that the child is safe, healthy, and not suffering from a concussion before sending them back in to play again.
As we’re learning more about concussions and how dangerous they really are, we are also learning how important it is to prevent the first concussion from occurring as much as possible. With every concussion, the brain becomes more susceptible to even more concussions. Each concussion creates higher risks until the chances of a traumatic brain injury occurring becomes likely. That’s not something that anyone wants to place on their kids before they even make it to high school, yet college athletes more than ever before are suffering from multiple concussions already.
Helmets are improving as science is improving, but the game of football needs to improve overall. By mixing in the fundamentals of tackling that are given in other sports that are similar to football, such as rugby, it may become possible to start limiting the amount of concussions that occur. That’s not to say that rugby is a safe sport – there are 110 rugby players in the UK who have been paralyzed by playing, but the tackling fundamentals prevent concussions from occurring.
Something is broken and needs to be fixed. Youth injuries are increasing. Concussion rates are increasing. There’s a 3 in 4 chance that a youth football player will have a concussion in the next season. Those are not good rates. If something doesn’t change, either parents will continue pulling their kids out of football or the kids that do play will be at a higher risk of future health problems. Neither of those outcomes really suits the child.