Tag Archives: high school sports

Friday Night Lights Out


That’s the word that every football player wants the chance to hear as often as possible.

But no player wants to lose the chance because of a head injury or concussion that happened during the game.

According to the U.S. Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, four million high school students throughout the nation suffer head injuries and concussions every year.

In response to growing concern, Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 2127, which limits middle and high school football teams to only two full-contact practices per week, and prohibits contact practice during the off-season. The new football restrictions go into effect on Jan. 1, 2015.

Ellis Green, former football player and 16-year football coach at Westlake High School, said he is already aware of how hard he pushes his players.

“It’s something you have to do in each sport, especially in football, “Green said. “However, there is a fine line when pushing a player to their limit.”

CSUN Assistant Athletic Trainer Ashley Meyer said reports of head injuries have increased, partly due to increased competitiveness, but also due to increased education among parents, coaches and trainers.

“Head injuries and concussions are such a hot topic right now,” Meyer said. “People are more aware of it, of what to look for, and how to prevent it. It is more so an increase of diagnosis than in the number of athletes.”

Green said football concussions were practically unheard of when he started coaching sixteen years ago, but now they are a main topic of concern.

“What this means is that coaches need to try to educate themselves, so that they can help educate the parents, and therefore educate their kids,” he said.

Meyer listed five key symptoms of identifying a concussion:

  • Headache
  • Fracture (contact head-to-head or head-to-ground)
  • Abnormal presentation of a person’s behavior (ex. feeling nauseous, dizzy, taking long to respond to questions)
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Spotty vision

“We look at things such as long-term or short-term memory,” Meyer said. “We ask the [player] to remember a few words, and ask them few basic cognition questions. Balance is also another key thing, as they can’t fake that.”

June Dubreuil, who has three football-playing sons, emphasized the parents’ responsibility to be actively involved in their children’s safety.

“I will spend the money on helmets, shoulder pads and whatever else is necessary for my sons, even if I don’t have the money,” she said. “Football is a brutal sport and I want to protect my children.”

Green said football isn’t the only brutal sport.

“As of recent, football has gotten a bad rep,” he said. “There have been injuries in other sports like soccer, hockey and basketball, but you don’t hear about it all the time. It’s because football has two players banging their head against one another as they’re tackling. It’s a contact sport, but there’re a lot of contact sports.”

Green said the bond between a coach and trainer is important to injury prevention.

“There used to be a time where coaches didn’t like to hear a trainer’s input because they would remove a player off the game,” he said, “but times have changed now, as a coach understands where a trainer is coming from now.”

Many involved in youth sports say the benefits outweigh the risks.

“It’s really great, especially in team sports, having to learn how to depend on other people, and trust other people, and communicate effectively with other people, and work towards a common goal,” Meyer said, “and that’s a huge thing for people to learn, especially as a child or a young adult.”

“I have three boys,” Dubreuil said, “…and they were very physical, and keeping them active and in positive activities, it kept them from fighting, and it kept my china closet intact, and it was fun…and they care about winning and losing, and that’s important…They’re the men that they are because of athletics.”

“Very few [high school athletes] are going to become professional athletes, “Green said. “But all of them are going to have to go into the working world, and that’s where they’re going to show what they learned on the football field.”


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