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Risks and Rewards in High School Football

            September 13, 2013, was sixteen year old Damon Janes' last football game. Why, because he was pronounced dead in a local Buffalo hospital three days after that game. His cause of death, brain damage. Janes took numerous hits to the head during a varsity football game. He seemed perfectly healthy, but in actuality, he suffered brain swelling, bleeding, and bruising  all resulting from numerous hits to the head while playing football. Janes was only one of the eight high school athletes who died in 2013 from the brain and spine injuries they suffered while playing high school football. In addition to brain trauma, heart conditions, asthma and heat stroke have contributed to three times more deaths in high school players than in college football; all of which may have been prevented. Since the early 1900s the game of football has continuously evolved in an effort to protect its players from injuries and fatalities. In fact, the rules and equipment changes over the years have done just that for college and NFL players. Sadly, according to a number of studies, this is not the case at the high school level where many of these fatalities could have been avoided. It's time to make high school football as safe as college and professional football so the rewards outweigh the risks.
             It is quite possible that Damon Janes' death and other injuries and deaths similar to his were preventable. Kevin Guskiewicz, founding director of the Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center at North Carolina, suggests that more serious and deadly injuries are occurring to high school players than for college and professional players for three main reasons. One such reason is older equipment. Helmets that aren't certified or effective can lead to more brain related deaths which is much more likely to occur in high school than in college. With the proper budget the proper equipment could be purchased, thereby reducing the number of head injuries.

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