Even though traumatic brain injury is receiving more attention than every before, many coaches are lagging behind when it comes to doing something about it.
For many areas of the U.S., football is the social stitching that holds the fabric of a community together. Playoffs are a time of intensity, hard-hitting action, and a stand jammed pack with locals watching for those rough-and-tumble plays. More often than not, many in the stands are even secretly anticipating the sound of helmets crunching against each other, as one player takes another down. The crowd figures “seeing stars” is a normal part of the game. It is not.
This most recent off-season brought news of two National Football League (NFL) players taking their own lives. Along with that also came news that former NFL players were suing the League for keeping critical information from them relating to brain trauma and how it could affect them in the long-term. The time to do something about brain injuries is long past, and there is a lot of catching up to do, much of it by small-townfootball coaches.
Witness the case of a small rural high school, with a football team of go-getters, raring to make a name for themselves. During their practice scrimmages, several players get their “bells rung.” They keep on playing. One cannot recall what happened on the field of a most recent game. He was hit so hard, his memories only include being carried off the field, but he does not know why.
He did get hit. Hard. He is still trying to recover some semblance of normalcy in his daily life, but after four concussions in a short period of time, his doctor has banned him from sports for the foreseeable future. He may face up to two years down time before he can play again, if ever. He played through four concussions and his coach let him.
In small town America, football is a religion. Changing any of the rules about playing, or pulling players out because they got shaken up is frowned upon. However, even though many coaches are resistant to change, the awareness about concussions spreading to every corner of the nation. Small football venues with a coach for the local team are being forced into the mainstream of media awareness about traumatic brain injury.
The tide of media coverage is the harbinger of change. Between 2009 and 2011, the District of Columbia and 33 states passed laws, taking direct aim at preventing concussions in sports involving youth. Another 15 states have legislation on the table this year. Only Arkansas and Montana have done nothing. It’s time for change.
If your child has been involved in a sport that involves a high risk of brain injury, and the coaching staff did not advise them of the risks, or provide them with proper equipment, and they were injured you need to talk to an experienced Austin personal injury lawyer.
Brooks Schuelke is an Austin personal injury attorney with Perlmutter & Schuelke LLP. Contact an Austin injury lawyer at Civtrial.com or (512) 476-4944.