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Introduction

Is football too unsafe and should safety concerns be a reason to prevent adolescents from playing it?

Definition

Concussion is a traumatically induced alteration in the brain function manifested by alteration awareness due to an earlier injury to the brain.

Concussion Epidemiology in Adolescents

It is difficult for care providers to accurately diagnose concussions as the true number of TBI’s is altered by people addressing health care facilities.

Teen Athletes at Risk

According to researchers, brain changes can occur several months, years or even decades after a concussion.  

Incidences in High School Sports

High school sports-related injury surveillance system and the NCAA sports-related injury surveillance system indicate that the number of reported concussions have increased by 7% from 1988/1989 to the 2003/2004 seasons.  

A prospective 11 year study from 1997/1998 to 2007/2008 indicates that there were 10,926,892 athletic exposures with 2,651 concussions. This is an incidence rate of 0.24%.   

NFL Concussion Study

A study on the number of NFL concussions from 1996 to 2001 revealed there were 787 concussions with an incidence rate of 0.41 per game. Age incidences showed that professionals suffered less while high school athletes and college students suffered the most.

Is Football Unsafe for the Teenage Brain?

Teenagers are more susceptible to mass cellular suicides and this is due to the fact that their brains continue to grow and develop; thus, just a small loss of brain cells may change the trajectory of brain development. Concussions received while playing football usually have a significant influence on the brain as it is going through an intense development, for instance, in the frontal lobe area, which is responsible for higher cognitive functions.

Should Adolescents be Banned from Playing Football?

With all the above evidence over brain concussion and its adverse effects on teenage brain, the biggest question is whether adolescents should be banned from playing football in order to protect their future.   

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