UTAH. According to ESPN, approximately 1.23 million children between the ages of 6-12 play tackle football. However, these children may be exposed to serious long-term injury risks by playing the sport. The Boston Globe reports that children who play tackle football can be exposed to repeated head injuries that can double their risk of developing behavioral problems and triple their risk for depression. The research has some child advocates saying that children should simply not be playing tackle football. Because the research into the impact of tackle football on children is still in its infancy, researchers have not yet made any official recommendations for youth football coaches and teams.
However, the risk is high enough that California has considered banning youth tackle football, Mother Jones reports. The law would place limits on how old kids must be before they can play the sport. Lawmakers believe there is sufficient evidence that tackle football, when played by young children, can change their brains and even result in brain damage. If the law passes, California will be the first state to put such a law in place. Yet, state lawmakers in New York, Illinois, and Maryland have also proposed placing limits on when children can play tackle football, given the current research that suggests that head injuries in youth can cause serious long-term problems.
So, does playing youth football pose an injury risk to children? Any sport can cause injury, so it is important that parents become aware of the injury risks inherent to any sport. However, tackle football is particularly notorious because of the impact forces involved when a tackle is made. Parents of young children may want to consider alternatives, like flag football, or perhaps another sport altogether. However, if parents do want their children to participate in football, they should take the time to review the coach and league’s policies regarding head injuries.
If a child hits his or her head or suffers a serious tackle, what steps are coaches required to take? Are children sent to the hospital for evaluation if they lose consciousness? Are players sent back onto the field after hitting their heads? Some basic measures should be in place to protect children, like taking children out of the game after any head injury and seeking medical attention for children who lose consciousness or suffer from nausea and confusion after a head impact. Coaches should be trained to check for the warning signs of serious head injury.
However, with head injuries, sometimes the symptoms don’t appear until hours or weeks later. Individuals can suffer from deadly brain bleeds and still act and feel normal. Every parent needs to make their own decisions for their children. If your child has suffered a personal injury while playing contact sports and you believe your child’s team or coach failed to take proper measures to protect players, you may be entitled to seek damages for your child’s medical costs and rehabilitation. The Truman Law Firm, P.C. are Utah personal injury lawyers who help clients seek damages for their accidents. Visit us at http://trumanlawfirm.com/ to learn more about your rights.