High School Football-Related Deaths Spark Debate




High School Football-Related Deaths Spark Debate

Whether or not every secondary school should have a full-time athletic trainer is a topic of recent debate among North Carolina high school officials. The debate follows the death of three North Carolina high school football players this fall.

Although the number of deaths among North Carolina high school football players has declined over the years, school officials argue even one is too many. The majority of football-related deaths are from brain injuries.

Officials Working to Reduce Number of Football-Related Deaths

Dr. Fred Muller and the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research have been working to reduce the number of deaths and catastrophic injuries among high school football players. According to their reports, they have been successful.

• There were 2.6 deaths per 100,000 high school football players nationally in 1968

• The ratio has dropped to less than 0.40 per 100,000 for each of the past 19 years

• The ratio has been 0.20 or less per 100,000 for 11 of the past 19 years

Fifteen North Carolina High School Football Players Dead

Since 1931, there have been 15 football-related deaths in North Carolina. The deaths were caused by the following injuries:

• Eight — brain injuries
• Two — neck injuries
• Two — heat related
• One — heart-related
• One — unknown
• One — not released

Officials Debate Mandatory Athletic Trainers throughout North Carolina

The three recent deaths have sparked a debate among school officials as to whether or not every high school throughout the state should have full-time licensed athletic trainers. While some argue that if present, they could save the lives of injured players, others argue it would be too expensive to implement such a rule.

According to Dr. Kevin Guskiewicz of the University of North Carolina, it would cost an estimated $18 million to put a full-time licensed athletic trainer at each high school. While the decision to mandate trainers has not been made, it is under current discussion.

(Source: News & Observer)

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