High school football concussions common - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

High school football concussions common

September 26, 2007

Albany--  The high spirits of high school football can sometimes lead to some dangerous, even deadly lows.

A serious on-field injury suffered by a Gwinnett County teenager shed new light on the dangers of the game. Doctors say 16-year-old Arquevious Crane may never walk again but his family remains optimistic. New research shows high school football players get hurt more than the pros.

Each weekday afternoon during the season, high school football players hit the field, ready for action. "The rush. I love the intensity," said Demontra Gresham.

Albany High School fullback and linebacker Demontra Gresham admits the field can get intense. "Very aggressive. Every play, you have to do everything exactly right," said Gresham.

That fever for football can unfortunately sometimes lead to injuries. Concussions are common.

"One of my fellow teammates had a concussion not too long ago. He suffered dearly sitting on the sidelines," said Gresham.

"We do see concussions quite a bit," said Coach Reginald Mitchell.

A new report by The New York Times shows that concussions are more dangerous for students than players on the pro field. The research shows that at least 50 high school or younger players in several states have received serious head injuries or died since 1997. Phoebe's emergency room sees a good bit of head injuries.

"It's fairly common. We usually see at least a case a day," said Dr. Alfred Woodard.

At least 2 per week are sports related. Woodard says one thing can prevent players from landing in the emergency room. "The most important thing when you're playing a sport, when you're engaging in vigorous physical activity is to be safe," said Dr. Woodard.

That's the goal Coach Reginald Mitchell has for his players as well. He's always keeping a close eye. "It's our job to try to protect players from injuries however they will occur and it's one of those things that when they do occur, you hold your breath and hope they will come out alright," said MItchell.

Demontra also looks out for his own safety and that of his fellow teammates. "They teach us how to protect ourselves from hurt, harm or danger so that's exactly what we go out there to do," said Gresham.

That way action doesn't end up in injury and everyone walks off the field unharmed.  That's the biggest win.

That study also shows many players try to fight their way through an injury and stay on the field when they shouldn't. Coach Mitchell says he and his staff work hard to judge when they need to pull a player out of practice or a game.

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