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CDC Study Shows Increase in Brain Injury Death Rate Among High School Football Players

By: Allan M. Siegel

A study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is showing a recent increase in annual death rates among high school football players who suffer brain and spinal injuries. The report, conducted by researchers from the University of North Carolina and released on January 5th, highlighted the increase in deaths after analyzing statistics dating back to 1965 regarding football-related injuries at the high school and collegiate level.

The CDC study reports the following:

  • Two dozen high school football players died from 2005 -2014 as a result of traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries. Four deaths were reported at the collegiate level during the same period.
  • Most deaths in the study were linked to the act of tackling or being tackled by another player, and most occurred during games.
  • Deaths were most common in the running back and linebacker positions.
  • Roughly 20 percent of high school players who suffered fatal brain injuries experienced concussions less than a month before the fatal injury.
  • Death rates among young football players fell and stabilized in the 1990s, but are showing a rising trend since 2010.

Researchers have noted that the slight uptick in death rates may be a result of increased brain injury awareness in sports and better reporting. They also noted the number of deaths was much higher in the past, particularly between the years of 1965 – 1974 as compared to 2005 – 2014. The study largely credits the decline in overall deaths to better sports equipment technology, better helmets, improved medical monitoring, and a movement toward safer standards in the sport itself. These safer standards, researchers say, have been critical in protecting the health and well-being of young football players.

At Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C., we have earned a reputation as proven advocates for brain injury victims, especially those injured in sports. Our work in the fight against brain injuries goes beyond protecting the rights of victims during the personal injury claim process:

  • Two of our firm’s Partners are founders of the Brain Injury Association of Metropolitan Washington, DC (BIADC).
  • Partner Joseph Cammarata is the current President and Treasurer of the BIADC and Partner Ira Sherman is the current Vice President.
  • Our team has been named “Preferred Attorneys” for the DC Metro Area by the Brain Injury Association of America.
  • Partner Cammarata drafted the DC Youth Athletic Concussion Protection Act, which was signed into law in 2011. The Act protects athletes under the age of 18 throughout the District of Columbia by establishing strict protocol for the immediate removal of athletes who suffer concussions during practice or play, as well as rules for when students can be cleared and return to their sport. It also implemented the use of training programs and educational resources for coaches, teachers, parents, children, and others involved in youth sports.

If you have questions about brain injuries and the personal injury claim process, our attorneys are readily available to discuss your rights and whether you might have a case for compensation during a free consultation. Contact us today to speak with a member of our legal team.