Close to Home: Injury shows ongoing risks of football

The tragic injury to a Fortuna High School player at a game at Cardinal Newman High School on Aug. 25 is every football parent’s worst nightmare (“Fortuna football player suffered stroke,” Tuesday).

For those on the sideline medical team, it may be the worst night of a career.

Football is an inherently dangerous collision sport with a risk of head injury that is more than twice that of other contact sports, such as soccer or lacrosse. This commentary is not an indictment of the sport or a call for its ban. It is important, however, for us to consider what we can do to make it as safe as possible, particularly around head injuries. Innovations in helmet design, custom mouth guards, neck strengthening and changes in tackling technique (such as “heads up” or “rugby tackling”) have yielded disappointing results when studied critically. To date, there is no protective device, technique or medicinal supplement that can prevent concussions.

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