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Why are more young football players dying?

With the increased focus on the safety of young football players and on efforts to prevent traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and spinal cord injuries (SCIs), it's not surprising that the number of fatal injuries has been declining since the days when our dads played the game. However, a recent study found that head- and spine-related fatalities have been rising again in recent years.

The University of North Carolina (UNC) has studied high school and college football injuries and fatalities for over 50 years. Their statistics have shown that four times as many players died from injuries to the head and/or spine between 1965 and 1974 than 40 years later, between 2005 and 2014.

Tougher helmet safety standards, bans on head first tackling and better medical care have been cited for this vast improvement.

However, according to UNC, 24 high school players have succumbed in recent years to TBIs and SCIs. The most recent statistics show a small increase in fatalities since 2010.

Multiple concussions can play a role in whether a player's injury proves fatal. According to the most recent study, approximately 20 percent of high school players who died following a brain injury had suffered a previous injury that resulted in a concussion within the past month. Most fatalities involve someone either tackling a player or being tackled. Linebackers and running backs are particularly at risk.

The lead author of the new study, which was just released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), says that it's possible that the recent increase in reported deaths is just a result of more accurate reporting. Whatever the reason, however, she says, "We want to see these numbers going down."

Even when it's not fatal, a brain injury, whether caused by football, a car crash, an act of violence or a fall, can mean many years of treatment and recovery for someone whose life may never be the same. That's why it's essential that victims and their families seek the help of an experienced West Virginia personal injury attorney to learn more about their rights to take legal action and seek needed compensation.

Source: CBS News, "Brain-injury deaths in high school football players rising," accessed Sep. 04, 2017

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