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Why in the case of high school football, practice may be dangerous

In recent years, there's been a wealth of information that’s been discovered about concussions and sports. A lawsuit filed by both current and former NFL players helped raise awareness about the issue. Since that time, much attention has been paid to the impact of concussions on athletes, particularly young athletes whose brains are still developing.

According to the National Federation of State High School Associations, approximately 1.1 million U.S. teenagers play on high school football teams throughout the country. Due to the physical nature of the game, these young athletes are at an increased risk of suffering concussions and the resulting short and long-term side effects.

In previous years, concussions were typically viewed as being minor injuries with short-term side effects. Today, research proves that concussions are much more serious and can result in adverse side effects like nausea, headaches, confusion, short term memory loss, fatigue, depression and sleep disturbances. Additionally, research shows that suffering multiple concussions, especially within a short time frame, can result in significant and long-term cognitive problems.

When it comes to concussions and high school and college football, many people likely believe that the vast majority of concussions are suffered during actual games. However, a recent study on the topic revealed that 58 percent of concussions are actually suffered during practice.

While practice is an essential component of any competitive sport, the study raises questions and concerns about how practices are or should be conducted. For example, one college football team now conducts all practices without helmets—the hope being that players adjust their play accordingly to avoid serious injury.

High school and college football players, who have suffered brain injuries at practice or during a game, may suffer numerous adverse short and long-term side effects. In some cases, it may be wise to discuss one's injuries and the surrounding circumstances with an attorney.

Source: NPR.org, "Concussions Are Most Likely During Practice In High School And College," Nancy Shute, May 4, 2015

Mayo Clinic, "Concussion," May 8, 2015

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