Family, friends and teammates watched in horror on Friday night when a high school football player collapsed on the sidelines and had a seizure. With paramedics already on the scene for the games, medical personnel were able to rush out onto the field. Everything stopped as everyone watched as the teen’s jersey was cut away, the fire department arrived on the scene and an IV was inserted.
At this point, the high school senior is in a coma. He suffered a subdural hematoma. This is when there is bleeding along the surface of the brain.
Dr. Andrew Naidech, who is the medical director of a neuro/spine intensive care unit, said bleeding around the brain can be caused by a single blow to the head.
Naidech also went on to say that young people tend to recover from these types of head injuries better than older people.
However, when it comes to a brain injury, nothing is ever guaranteed and there could be permanent damage, or worse.
According to Fred Mueller, who is the former director of the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research, there has been a decrease in the number of football players killed per year, but more still needs to be done. Mueller points to the fact that while the number of deaths did decrease from the 1960s, there was a spike in 2011 when 16 players died. Granted, last year there were only five deaths, but Mueller said avoiding helmet-to-helmet contact could prevent these deaths.
Overall, the scene at Friday night’s game certainly shook a lot of parents and teammates. For some, this could even end up being a deterrent from continuing to play the sport.
Source: Chicago Tribune, “Football player in coma after collapsing at game,” Annie Sweeney and John Keilman, Oct. 10, 2013