High school football deaths raise safety concerns - DatelineCarolina

High school football deaths raise safety concerns

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Research shows that medical attention in the first 10 minutes are critical for sports injuries Research shows that medical attention in the first 10 minutes are critical for sports injuries
Its important for players to be educated on the correct way to tackle and hit to prevent serious injuries. Its important for players to be educated on the correct way to tackle and hit to prevent serious injuries.

By: SaMeia Robinson

The deaths this fall of seven high school football players have placed safety concerns, regarding the sport, at the forefront of discussion.

Last year, five high school players died from direct football injuries in the U.S. Six others from health related issues, according to a survey by the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research at UNC. The number of athletes whose deaths are related to high school football, fluctuates from year to year. In the past decade there has been an average of three fatalities linked to high school football each year.

"Keeping my players safe is always a priority for me" said Julius Prince, head football coach for Southside High School football team in Greenville, S.C. "I'm a parent with a son who plays football and I would be devastated if anything tragic were to happen to him on this field."

More than 1.9 million high school football players hit the gridiron every Thursday and Friday night. The research in the UNC survey, suggests that the developing brains of high school athletes are more vulnerable to catastrophic head injuries. Nearly all causes of sports deaths are influenced by the care in the first ten minutes, according to a study conducted this year in the Journal of Athletic Training.

"Schools without full-time athletic trainers are missing a check system," said Jeremy Turner, athletic trainer for Southside. "We're there to make sure a bruise is a bruise and not a broken bone"

Only 37 percent of the nation's public high schools have full-time trainers. The risk of serious injuries and deaths at the high school level increase because of the shortage of full-time athletic trainers, according to the study in the Journal of Athletic Training.

"Coaches are normally really receptive to new information,they enjoy getting the new information from studies and finding out what someone else is doing on the college level." said Turner. "The difficult part is getting them to actually take that next step and implement because as the next thing comes along they are jumping ship and moving on to the next one."

By educating his coaching staff and athletes, Turner has been able to keep the number of concussions at zero this season.

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