Though not as violent as its college and pro fathers, high school football is still a physical game in which injuries occur. Concussions and head trauma injuries are a part of the game at all levels and high school is no different.
In recent years, the National Federation of High Schools which make the rules for all scholastic sports has tried to do its part in cutting down on the number of head injuries and monitoring those that occur.
The first thing that the federation tries to do is emphasis player safety whether it be uniform equipment or playing technique.
No longer can players wear clear or white mouthpieces. The mouthpiece must be visible to everyone on the field. Clear mouthpieces are not and white ones match the color of the player’s teeth. All players must wear them not to protect their teeth, but to cut down on concussions.
When a player’s head hits the ground their jaw slams shut. If there is no buffer between the teeth then the shock goes into the brain. The mouthpiece is the buffer between the teeth which absorbs the shock.
Another rule that has been in place for a few years which the NFL has picked up is the one in which a ball carrier who loses his helmet is immediately ruled down. No matter where he is on the field of play if the helmet comes off and he is carrying the ball the whistle is immediately blown.
Playing rules have changed so that the helmet can not be used to block, tackle or run over an opponent. Techniques which a lineman would use his helmet or face mask to block are illegal. Defenses have not been allowed to lead with the helmet for a few years. Now, ball carriers are no
longer allowed to lower their heads and lead into opponents with their helmet.
These rules are effective, but concussions still occur. When they do the NFHS has specific guidelines for handling them.
When a player shows any signs of a concussion he is immediately removed from the game. He must then examined by a medical doctor not a team trainer or coach. The only way that the player may to return to the game is if he has a note signed by a medical doctor clearing him to
play. Most state football officials associations err on the side of caution and do not allow a player deemed to have shown symptoms of a concussion back into the game whether they have a note or not.
When a player suffers a concussion he is not allowed to practice or play before receiving written medical clearance from a doctor. This is in order to give the player a few days to recover from the injury.
These rules will help to cut down on the number of head trauma injuries in high school football and are long overdue. The days of players playing with concussions are coming to a fast end as they should.
The health of the player should always come first.