Football may be one of America's favorite pastimes, but it is also one of the most dangerous. Although Americans across the country enjoy the thrill and athleticism football offers, few realize just how dangerous the sport can be, especially when it comes to head injuries. In fact, concussions and repetitive traumatic brain injury (TBI) have been found to cause permanent impairments in many former football players.
Because brain injuries in football have become such a heated topic in the past several years – with the NFL and NCAA both facing head injury lawsuits – safety advocates and lawmakers have gone to great lengths to protect athletes at all levels.
Some of the leading efforts to prevent concussions and traumatic brain injuries in football include:
- Concussion-detecting helmets – Researchers have developed smart football helmets that can detect potential concussion-causing hits. The technology alerts coaches, trainers, and medical staff when a player may have suffered a concussion via a smart-device app. They can then monitor players to determine the severity of their injury and whether or not they should return to the field.
- Injury-detecting mouth guards – Similar to smart football helmets, smart mouth guards have been developed to detect when players may experience serious injuries, including concussions. A company known as Force Impact Technologies created the FITguard to help coaches and trainers better detect brain injuries and better monitor players before returning them back to play. The mouth guard lights up when an athlete experiences a serious collision or injury.
- Return-to-play protocol – Many schools, cities, and states throughout the country have passed laws aimed at preventing athletes from being prematurely returned to play after they suffer head injuries. As scientists have found, returning players too early back onto the field after a concussion places them at increased risks of suffering additional injuries and serious impairments. To address this issue, laws have been passed to create strict return-to-play policies that require athletes to obtain medical clearance before going back onto the field. Return-to-play laws have been adopted in a variety of youth sports and at the high school, collegiate, and professional level. South Carolina passed a youth-concussion law last year.
- Increased Awareness – Increasing awareness about the dangers of concussions and the importance of protecting athletes has made a significant difference. Today, people are more aware that "sucking it up" or "toughing it out" can be extremely dangerous to a player's long-term health and that head injuries should always be taken seriously.
At George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers, we support the efforts being made to protect football players at all levels. We also believe that increased awareness about the dangers of concussions will continue to help make the game safer and more enjoyable for everyone. Our firm is also available to provide our legal services and support to help anyone who may have suffered preventable brain injuries recover the compensation they deserve.
Contact a South Carolina personal injury lawyer from our firm to learn more about your rights!