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Football Safety and TBIs

As autumn creeps into Texas, families everywhere are getting ready for a new season of student-football. From local kids’ leagues to big high school games, one of Texas’s favorite sports is just as much a part of the fall season as pumpkin spice lattes. As families get ready, though, they need to be aware of the risks that football season brings. As a contact sport, tackle football can put kids at risk for some bruises to go along with their touchdowns.

In honor of National Traumatic Brain Injury Awareness Month, Kyle ER wants to specifically educate parents about the risk of head injuries in football, and how to help prevent them. Whether your family’s MVP is a Hays Rebel or a Lehman Lobo, we want to help you keep them safe from serious injuries this season.

What are TBIs?

The term TBI refers to Traumatic Brain Injury. This is the medical term for severe injuries that result from a blow to the head. These accidental injuries can happen to anyone throughout their lives, but when kids and teenagers are playing contact sports, like football, they run a higher risk for getting a TBI. Even though TBIs can be serious, if they are treated quickly, then a complete, easy recovery is possible. But, left untreated, TBIs can cause long term health issues for anyone. For this reason, it is important to know how to spot the signs of TBIs, so that you are prepared in case someone on your team suffers a TBI.

Right after impact is made, start looking for signs of

  • Headaches
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Blurred vision
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Sensitivity to light or sound
  • Slurred speech
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Trouble with concentration and memory
  • Change in mood, behavior, or sleep habits

These are some of the symptoms of a TBI, and while some of them might present themselves right after someone is hit on the head, the symptoms might not develop until hours, days, or even weeks after the impact. Be diligent when watching for these symptoms to make sure your child is safe to play in the next big game.

How to Avoid TBIs

Naturally, the most obvious way to avoid a Traumatic Brain Injury is to not get hit on the head! But these kinds of injuries are results of accidents which we often cannot control. Telling your child to never be hit on the head during football practice is hard for them to control. This means that there are really pnly two preventative measures that you can take as a parent when making you’re your child stays safe.

The first is to encourage your children to always play by the rules. Instilling good sportsmanship in your family’s football players is not only good for their mental and emotional health, but also encourages them not to make reckless plays during the game which might get them hurt. Make sure that their coach is teaching tackling techniques that don’t involve the head being hit. Watch your child’s games and encourage them to play respectfully, following the rules and techniques of the game that will keep them and other players safe.

The second way to prevent TBIs in your young football star, is to make sure they have the perfect helmet. Football helmets consist of two main protection techniques—interior padding and exterior armor. When looking for a helmet, check for the following:

  • No cracks or faults in the hard shell
  • Padding inside that fits securely against your child’s head
  • Ear holes matching up properly with the ears, and the helmet fitting from the base of the head all to way around to halfway down the forehead
  • A helmet unable to be pulled off when the chinstrap is secured
  • Meets the NOCSAE standard for safety (this stands for National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment and most helmets or helmet packaging is appropriately marked)

With the right helmet in hand, you can teach your star player how to take care of their equipment by making sure they keep it clean and never leave the helmet where it might be exposed to high heat or freezing cold, as extreme temperatures can crack the armor shell.

With responsible playing and the right helmet, your family can avoid Traumatic Brain Injuries during their autumn football season. But sometimes, accidents happen, and when you find yourself in need, Kyle ER is here 24/7 with concierge-level emergency care for all ages. Our board-certified doctors are fully prepared to treat TBIs and help your star player get back on the field.

This blog is written by Maggie Berardo, content writer at Nutex Health.

Nutex Health, Inc. supports you and your family’s health. Come visit Kyle ER or any one of our concierge-level freestanding facilities for the emergency care you deserve, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.