Today, I’ll expand a little on a package that you might’ve seen in this weekend’s paper concerning head injuries in football.
With the NFL putting more of an emphasis on protecting players from serious head injuries, what will the trickle down effects be in the high school game?
Before I get into my own thoughts, let me point you in the direction of some great source material. Mark Emmons and Dennis Knight of the Mercury News did the bulk of the legwork on this great package, and I helped as much as I could, but the technical information on head injuries in high school football is fantastic. Click that link before proceeding. And, while you’re at it, click on this one too.
OK, so now that you’ve done your homework, let’s discuss. Head injuries have become more of a hot button issue throughout football lately, and various media outlets, lawmakers and school officials are starting to notice.
With seemingly everyone you talk to about the subject, the biggest goal right now is to increase awareness. Good knowledge about head and neck injuries hasn’t necessarily been the first thing people talk about when getting ready for a football season, and I think that’s beginning to change.
In that same vein, I’ll be the first to admit that I learned a lot doing research for the project. I talked to former Northgate QB Colin Barney, who has dealt with concussions since he was a freshman, and he taught me a bunch because he had done his senior project on the topic last year. In his opinion, the rules of football aren’t necessarily what need to be changed. What needs to be changed is the level of knowledge that people have about the subject. Players and parents need to know what to look for in order to diagnose the problem.
Another message that I took away is the fact that yes, football is an inherently dangerous sport. Then again, so are all sports. It doesn’t mean kids need to stop playing. A fundamentally sound football player is way less likely to get caught in a bad position or hit someone in the wrong place. What’s the message? Learn to play the game the right way.