Whether you are a fan or not, Fall = Football. Football is in full force from middle school athletes through NFL but have you ever thought about what contact football can do to ones body?
Football is a physical sport where collisions between players are part of the game. Even for those athletes who do not play football from middle school through college/professional level, the number of physical contacts from practice, scrimmages, tournaments and games, that one receives puts these athletes at an increased risk for injury. Stress to joints, ligaments and muscles can lead to strained muscles, broken bones as well as arthritis and joint point years later.
In addition to strained muscles and broken bones, football players undergo collisions of the head. Head injuries varies on severity depending upon the position of the player and the brutality of the game but concussions have become an ongoing risk to football players. A concussion, per the Sports Concussion Institute, is defined as a complex process that affects the braid caused by drama to the brain by either a direct or indirect blow to the head. A concussion may results in headaches, nausea, difficulty concentrating, irritability as well as changes to sleep, appetite and energy levels.
When an athlete obtains a sports related concussion the amount of time it takes to remover is variable. Research has shown that high school athlete not only take longer to recover from a sport concussion compared to a collegiate or professional athletes but they may actually have more neurological disturbances. In fact, per the Sports Concussion Institute, it is estimated that 53% of high school athletes have sustained a concussion even before their participation in high school sports. This statistic is alarming and threatening as the human brain continues to develop until the age of 25.
The fact is, football players are not the only sport in which brain injuries can occur. Check out this list from the CDC.
- 1.6 million to 3.8 million concussions occur each year
- 5-10% of athletes will experience a concussion in any given sport season
- Fewer than 10% of sport related concussions involve a Loss of Consciousness (e.g., blacking out, seeing stars, etc.)
- Football is the most common sport with concussion risk for males (75% chance for concussion)
- Soccer is the most common sport with concussion risk for females (50% chance for concussion)
- 78% of concussions occur during games (as opposed to practices)
- Some studies suggest that females are twice as likely to sustain a concussion as males
- Headache (85%) and Dizziness (70-80%) are most commonly reported symptoms immediately following concussions for injured athletes
- Estimated 47% of athletes do not report feeling any symptoms after a concussive blow
- A professional football player will receive an estimated 900 to 1500 blows to the head during a season
- Impact speed of a professional boxers punch: 20mph
- Impact speed of a football player tackling a stationary player: 25mph
- Impact speed of a soccer ball being headed by a player: 70mph
The fact is, once an athlete obtains a sports related head injury they are more prone, 1-2 times more likely, in obtaining another head injury. After two head injuries, the risk only continues to rise. Is it therefore important to not only consider risk, benefits of participating in certain sports but also important to have full recovery before returning back to ones sports.