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Link between Declining Youth Football Participation and Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injury

Congressional hearings in 2009 revealed that the NFL had covered up the link between concussion and mental illness (traumatic brain injuries). This was immediately followed by the league’s admission that concussions can lead to “long-term problems.” Recent backlash against youth football from the medical community has also played a role in declining participation. Dr. Robert Cantu -a leading US medical expert on concussion- has recommended that nobody under the age of 14 be involved in collision sports. As a direct result, it seems, fewer parents have been willing to sign their kids up to play football.

Declining youth football participation numbers

While youth participation (ages 6-14) in tackle football saw a 1.9 percent increase from 2.128 million participants in 2014 to 2.169 million in 2015, the overall picture tells a different story. Tackle football experienced a drop in youth participation from 3 million in 2010 to 2.8 million in 2011. Even including the modest increase in participation found between 2014 and 2015, football has seen age 6-14 participation drop from 3 million in 2010 to 2.169 million just five years later; an astounding 27.7 percent drop. Flag football, by contrast, was up 8.7 percent to 1.669 million children aged 6-14 in 2015, suggesting that parents are looking for alternatives that don’t carry such a high risk for head trauma.

Traumatic brain injuries in children

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the leading cause of disability and death in children and adolescents in the U.S. Exact numbers on the number of children who experience brain injuries from Football are hard to quantify as many children do not exhibit signs or symptoms of concussion. An imaging study published in the journal Radiology in October, 2016 shows that tackle football players ages 8 to 13 who have had no concussion symptoms still show changes associated with traumatic brain injury.

Children are more susceptible to long term damage from traumatic brain injury

Recent research has revealed that children who experience head trauma are at risk for developing more serious injuries than adults. In addition, it can take years for the damage to present itself in children – compared to months for adults. Children with brain injuries often face changes in their abilities to think and learn and to develop socially appropriate behaviors. These negative behaviors are caused by the injured brain’s challenges to process information and impairments to judgment and reasoning skills.

If you or your child has experienced a brain hit or repeated head trauma from youth football that may or may not have resulted in concussion, you may be looking at a long-term traumatic brain injury. Contact a personal injury lawyer today to discuss your rights.

The Seattle personal injury attorneys at Morrow Kidman Tinker Macey-Cushman, PLLC have years of experience representing families harmed by medical malpractice. We seek justice for patients who have been harmed by preventable medical errors including birth injuries, hospital-acquired infections and wrongful death in Seattle and across Washington State. There are no fees or expenses to file a personal injury case as we only receive payment if we recover damages on your behalf. Do not delay; personal injury claims come with a Statute of Limitations, which means they must be filed within a certain time frame of the injury.

Call us now at 206-842-1000 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our compassionate, experienced attorneys.