A survey of severe brain injuries in football shows two major, interrelated trends.
Traumatic brain injury in sports players has gained more attention in recent months, after soccer headers were shown to lead to permanent damage in the tracts connecting brain cells and two professional sports players succumbed to "boxer's dementia," or chronic traumatic encephalopathy. And now, a new study finds that young football players are suffering serious head injuries more than before. Luckily, the numbers are still low.
Neurological injuries resulting in death have basically been decreasing in the past few decades: The 1960s saw 128 and the 2000s saw just 32. But serious brain injuries rose to 14 in 2011, and spinal cord injury with incomplete recovery numbered eight for the same year. In 2008, 2009, and 2010, there were 14, nine, and seven spinal cord injuries, respectively.
High school kids see professional players on TV using their heads that way and announcers saying, 'that's a great hit.' Kids think maybe that's what they should be doing.
- Soccer Headers Destroy Brain Tracts
- Keeping Young Baseball Arms Safe
- Protecting Little League Players
Overall, the rate of "catastrophic" injuries is still very low, however, at about 0.19 occurring for every 100,000 cases. The rate of injury with incomplete neurological recovery is about 0.4 in 100,000.