Can high school football players be protected from the dangers of concussions? In the wake of a near-fatal concussion of a local player, the San Jose Mercury News finds California’s rules are more lenient than in nearby states.
In Washington state, a new law requires a doctor’s clearance before youth athletes who suffer a suspected concussion can resume play.
In Oregon, a new law mandates annual concussion training for coaches. School sports officials there keep players who suffer such head injuries off the field for the rest of the day and mandate a medical evaluation before they return. Similar rules now apply to pro football players.
San Jose High running back Matt Blea played on Thanksgiving Day after suffering a mild concussion earlier in the week. A hard but legal tackle during the game caused “second-impact syndrome.”
A study by the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, in 2009 found that 40.5 percent of high school athletes who suffer concussions return to play before it is safe to do so, with 16 percent of high school football players who lost consciousness returning to play the same day.
It’s a dangerous game.