High school is supposed to be a time during which teenagers discover and begin to develop their talents. Some students discover their passion for science or literature, while others hone their athletic skills. In Florida, football is a very widely-followed sport, even at the amateur level. Though football games can be entertaining, the number of high school football players who sustain a catastrophic brain injury while playing is on the rise.
According to the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research, a total of 13 high school football players received life-altering brain injuries during the 2011 season, which is highest number since the organization started collecting data nearly 30 years ago. This alarming statistic comes amidst serious efforts to reduce the number of brain injuries in high school sports through education and rule changes.
Beginning in 1976, there were rules against making the head an initial point of contact during game play. Brain injuries most often occur when blocking or tackling utilizes the head as the initial point of contact. Six injuries to player's cervical injuries, without a complete recovery, were also caused by improper contact last year. The lead author of the report indicated that these rules must be more vigorously enforced by officials and coaches must do more to teach their players proper techniques.
Obviously, dealing with catastrophic injuries at such a young age can be devastating for players and their families. The injuries might be serious enough that regular doctor's visits are required or constant medical care is necessary. This dynamic can place a serious emotional and financial strain on a family. Fortunately, the families of minor children, or the children themselves, who suffer an incapacitating injury may be eligible for Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income benefits.
In the unfortunate event that a Florida family is dealing with the realities of a serious sports-related injury they should gather all the information regarding the possibility of obtaining financial assistance. This type of injury can change a family's financial situation overnight. If they successfully apply for SSD benefits, the costs of medical treatments and appointments can be defrayed and they can provide the care their loved one needs.
Source: The Charlotte Observer, "High school football brain injuries increasing," Tim Stevens, April 16, 2012