Fall has found its way to Texas which means it’s time for Friday night lights and statewide rivalries to heat up. Texas leads the nations in the number of high school football players, with an estimated 163,998 students suiting up to take the field this year. In 2007 over 920,000 athletes under the age of eighteen were treated in emergency rooms, doctor’s offices and clinics for football related injuries.
While a variety of injuries may occur for football players, the four most common account for the majority of injuries experienced on the field.
Concussions have become a hot topic for Dallas high school athletes. Due to the extreme contact and force, football players are very susceptible to concussions.
A concussion is a change in the mental state due to a traumatic impact. You do not have to lose consciousness to suffer a concussion. Signs of a concussion include headache, dizziness, nausea, loss of balance, drowsiness, numbness or tingling, difficulty concentrating and blurred vision.
Concussions have risen 200 percent among teens ages 14 to 19 in the last decade according to the CDC. High school football accounts for 47 percent of all reported sports concussions. There are many different grading system that determine if an athlete has experienced a concussion. If left undetected, concussion can prove fatal.
The standard treatment for concussion is rest. For headaches, acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be taken. Post-concussive headaches often are resistant to stronger narcotic-based medications.
Heat injuries are a major concern for Dallas athletes since the season is often in full swing before temperatures and humidity drop in the Dallas Forth Worth Metroplex.
Dehydration and heat stroke are major concerns for athletics are prone to rapidly deplete sat and water from their body due to excessive sweating.
The force used to bring down or resist being taken down on the football field is intense. This commonly leads to knee and shoulder injuries.
Knee injuries are the most common issue for football players. Injuries to the ACL, MCL or both are quite common as well as meniscus tears which often accompany ACL/MCL injuries. For treatment of these injures most trainers have access to medications for inflammation and use ice bags for pain control. Cryotherapy units are growing in popularity with some athletic programs due to their success for treating professional athletes.
Shoulder injuries are also common, especially dislocation and rotatory cuff tears. It should come as no surprise that quarterbacks are the most likely to experience a shoulder injury from football. Offensive and defensive linemen are also likely to experience these types of injuries during the course of a game or practice.
Football Related Injury Prevention
Every Dallas player’s mom to know how football injuries can be prevented. Following a few simple proactive measures can help ensure your student athlete stays healthy during football season.
- Ensure your child has a thorough pre-season health and wellness evaluation. This examination ensures that your child is healthy enough to participate in the strenuous activities related to football season.
- Spend time performing proper warm up and cool down routines. This helps reduce the likelihood of muscle injuries.
- Consistently incorporate strength training and stretching in your athlete’s training program.
- Hydrate adequately before, during and after practice, training and games.
- Ensure your athlete stays active during summer and winter breaks so their bodies are prepared for the stresses of football season.
- Wear protective equipment that is properly fitted. Ensure your athlete’s helmet, pads and mouth guard fit correctly.
- Tackle with the head up and do not lead with the helmet. Tackles lead with the head are dangerous for both players involved.
For Dallas ISD students, a licensed athletic trainer is at each of the districts high schools who participate in athletics. These trainers act as the first line of defense against catastrophic injury or death in youth sports. This staff offers emergency care, injury prevention, hands-on care and medical coverage for practices and games.