Concussions a Concern for High School Football Programs

Posted at: 08/30/2013 11:18 PM
By: Sean Boswell

A major settlement with the NFL is helping put head injuries in the spotlight.  It’s not just professional athletes that are at risk though.

Football is a high school staple said to be getting more dangerous every year.

"I think the biggest thing that has changed is the athletes are bigger and stronger and faster so sometimes the collisions are greater than they were 10 years ago," Jon Vik, head coach at Century High School, said.

Head injuries are drawing more and more attention, and those under the Friday night lights are at risk.

“I’d say pick another sport,” ABC’s Chief Medical Editor Dr. Richard Besser said.  "High school students take a lot longer to recover from a brain hit. And until we make these changes to make the game safer, as a parent, I didn't let my kids play football, and as a pediatrician, I make sure my parents understand those risks.”

Proper technique may help prevent those risks.

"The general knowledge of how to tackle and the appropriate way of tackling, and not leading with the head is something our coaches do a real nice job of,” Mark Kuisle, Century High School Activities Director, said.

 Coaches like Jon Vik of CHS.

“Any time you have a student that's hurt out on the field, you feel like it’s your own children that are out there and so of course you are concerned,” Vik said.

Concerns that even reach professionals, with the NFL’s $765 million settlement with thousands of players suing over head injuries.

"Player safety is the most important thing in everything we do," Vik said

Century High School invested over $15,000 in upgrading their helmets just last year.  They’re hoping the new upgrades help to keep players safer.