High School Football Player Suffers Blood Clot in Brain

A running back for Marist High School in Hudson County was recently pulled from a football game during the second quarter when he began suffering an unusually strong headache. The headache brought suspicions of a more serious problem, as it seemed to be caused by taking hits that were not especially hard. These suspicions were confirmed after the player lost consciousness briefly while he stood on the sidelines during the second half.

The player was taken to a hospital where he was given a CAT scan. The procedure revealed that he had a small blood clot in his brain. The high school senior was eventually taken to The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and he was released three days later when a second scan showed that the clot had neither grown nor shrunk. The 17-year-old has aspirations of playing college football, but those dreams will likely depend on the results of a third CAT scan. Doctors have ordered that the football star be benched for the rest of the year.

The clot appeared three weeks after the player suffered a concussion and was knocked unconscious in a regular season game. After two weeks of recovery, the player’s personal doctor gave him permission to return to the field. The running back had also passed a concussion testing protocol known as ImPACT. The athlete states that he felt perfectly fine going into the game.

A representative from the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association has asserted that the NJSIAA does not enforce specific requirements involving an athlete’s return to play after a concussion. Rather, the decision is left up to the individual schools. The Athletic Director for Marist stated that their decisions are wholly influenced by doctors’ recommendations.

With an increasing level of attention being paid to brain injuries at the professional level, it would seem to make sense that high school and college football programs start considering its effects more deeply as well. While it seems that all the proper precautions were taken in this situation, one has to wonder if anything else could have been done to prevent this New Jersey star from potentially ending his career.

Source:  nj.com, “‘Blood clot’ found on brain of Marist football player after coming back from concussion,” Patrick Villanova, Nov. 22, 2013

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