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Young Athletes Getting More Concussions Than Ever

Running Back behind Linemen
Photograph by Getty Images/moodboard RF

It's understood that football is a dangerous sport. But some choose to ignore the facts and instead point to how well protected the players are—from helmets to padding—but a new study shows that those safety measures don't actually help all that much.

Today, concussions from football are affecting more high school students than ever before. A new study by the Institute of Medicine and National Research reported that in 2009, "250,000 athletes age 19 and younger were treated for concussions." That's compared to just 150,000 in 2001. And no real big surprise here, of those athletes, men playing football were at the highest risk.

Helmets aren't helping. In fact, they don't really do anything to prevent concussions. They can reduce the risk of other serious injuries like skull fractures, but they "don't necessarily reduce the forces that lead to concussive injuries," stated Dr. Neha Raukar, an author on the study. Even some helmet manufacturers are fessing up, releasing warnings: "Contact in football may result in concussion/brain injury, which no helmet can prevent."

To make matters worse, some concussions aren't recognized and coaches put players back in the game immediately, or the students just don't report that they aren't feeling 100 percent. This can make recovery and the risk of further injury more severe. If you're not sure about what the symptoms are of a concussion, find out more here. Pay close attention and be diligent about bringing your kids to a doctor if something seems off.

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