Football and sports programs in our area have taken nearly every measure possible to increase safety and protect against concussions. Fairfax County in particular has instituted safety seminars, held tackling clinics, purchased $300 helmets, and made contact modifications during practice. In the fall of 2015, the Marshall High football team in Falls Church, Virginia, recorded only five concussions. With the heightened awareness of brain injuries in recent years, the expectation is that the number of concussions would have fallen dramatically, but reporting systems are showing that the trend at Marshall High is unfortunately not the trend across the board. Researchers are trying to figure out exactly why the concussion numbers are not following an interpretable trend.
In Montgomery County, Maryland, a 35% increase in concussions was reported across all sports with an 11% increase in concussions specifically in football. In this particular instance the school system instituted a county-wide athletic trainer program requiring an athletic trainer to be on the sidelines of every sporting event. The result was more eyes on the sidelines that were able to spot and immediately begin treatment for concussions. Another explanation of the inconsistencies comes from Loudoun County where the school system not only reports concussions but also reports possible concussions, whereas many other school districts only report confirmed concussions.
Some safety experts suspect that we may see a clear declining trend once all available safety measures become commonplace and a uniform reporting system is followed. Until then, the current data we have on concussions is not able to provide any insight into whether the game of football is getting any safer or what safety measures are truly effective.
At Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel we have handled many cases for clients who have suffered a concussion through a sports-related injury. If you have any questions about an injury that you or a loved one may have suffered, please call our firm to speak directly with an attorney for a free legal consultation.