‘Concussion’ Impacting High School Football Players

_DSC6907Typically, fictionalized film versions of real-life events often do not have a significant impact on the way youth athletes play football or make decisions about sports-related concussions. However, according to a recent report from NPR, the movie Concussion is seriously affecting decisions made by high school football players and their families. The film details the traumatic brain injury (TBI) research of Dr. Bennet Omalu, “the doctor who was the first to publish research on the degenerative brain disease he called chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.”

High School Athletes Deciding Against Future Play

For Californians who have not heard of CTE or its effects, it is a degenerative disease of the brain that appears to develop as a result of multiple hits to the head that cause concussions. Given that football players commonly experience multiple concussions over their careers, CTE has become known as a serious risk for professional athletes. Nw, it looks as though youth players are also reconsidering the risks inherent in contact sports.

Could growing debates about CTE, and the ways in which multiple concussions can lead to debilitating symptoms in adulthood, actually change the way in which high school football players approach the sport? It seems as though the ever-expanding news about the risks of CTE and sports-related concussions could indeed prevent high schoolers from continuing to take the field in college and afterward. For instance, one high school football player interviewed for the NPR report, John Castello, indicated that “he turned down multiple football scholarships” after seeing the movie Concussion.

The film alone, which stars Will Smith as Dr. Bennet Omalu, was not the only factor in Castello’s decision to stop playing football once he reaches college. Rather, the movie encouraged him to do his own research into CTE findings and the high rate at which this disease appears to affect football players. According to Castello, “I watched interviews with Dr. Omalu and that kind of really gave me some insight onto what could happen if I kept on playing football and some of the injuries that could occur.”

Assessing the Long-Term Consequences of High School Injuries

Until he saw Concussion, Castello admitted that he had not considered the long-term consequences of a high school football injury. Castello sustained a brain injury during play last year, but he did not consider that he could experience serious consequences years later as a result of that head trauma. As he told NPR, “I kind of just shrugged it off, didn’t think it was much of anything.” Once he viewed Concussion, however, he realized that playing football and sustaining concussions on the field could have lifelong repercussions.

After thinking more about the potentially debilitating impact of concussions, Castello decided to turn down several college football scholarships. While the young athlete’s family does not have the ability to pay for his college education, he told NPR, “I’d rather be paying off student loans than having trouble getting down the stairs . . . in the morning.”

It is important for high school athletes to have sustained brain injuries to know that they may be eligible to file a claim for compensation. An experienced San Diego brain injury attorney can help. Contact the Walton Law Firm today for more information.

See Related Blog Posts:
Mild Head Injuries Cause Long-Term Impairments
Sports-Related Concussions, Science, and the NFL

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