Hidden Brain Injury Dangers in Pee Wee Football
Recently, a lot of attention has been given to Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) occurring in professional sports such as the NFL and NHL as well college level football. This past year, there have been numerous deaths, though not all related to Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), from playing high school football. It is quite ignorant of us: the doctors, the lawyers and those leaders and administrators that are involved with tackle football leagues for younger players all the way down to the Pee Wee level, to believe that the dangers of brain injury are not relevant to younger players since there is less force involved.
In 2009, the chief neuropathologist at Boston University, who has been leading the investigation into Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) – a condition caused by repeated concussions that lead to brain tissue death – among professional athletes including those in the NFL and NHL, said that injuries to developing brains can have a far more detrimental effect than injuries to fully developed adult brains.
This means that a child who plays tackle football at the Pee Wee Level (ages 8-12) can suffer a more serious brain injury than an adult since the child’s brain is still developing.
We, at Nguyen Leftt, have always believed that the main cause of Traumatic Brain Injuries cannot be prevented by a football helmet. While the helmet may protect the player’s face and skull from trauma, it cannot protect the brain from the sudden acceleration and deceleration force attendant in violent contact sports such as tackle football and hockey.
We also believe that giving a child a helmet and other protective gear will give the child a false sense of belief that he is protected from traumatic brain injury. This false sense of protection will allow him to think he can hit harder than he would without a helmet. This is the added danger in the sport of tackle football. Not only is tackle football an inherently dangerous activity, the requirement of wearing a helmet ironically increases the danger.
Another hidden danger that we at Nguyen Leftt see is that the weight of a heavy football helmet on a boy’s head adds to the speed of the sudden acceleration and deceleration of the brain. If we are to think of the spine as a whip and the tip of the whip is the head. The speed of the whip is fastest at the tip- the head. Now add weight to the tip/head and the tip/head moves faster during the whiplash movement of the spine. It’s common physics Force x Mass = Velocity. Increase the mass and the speed/velocity increases.
We believe that neither the parents nor child players are educated or warned about the inherent dangers of tackle football and that no helmet will protect from traumatic brain injuries. In the case of our client, who was playing Pee Wee tackle football at the time he suffered a severe concussion, he was wearing full protective gear. When we looked at the website of the manufacturer of the helmet he was wearing at the time he suffered his severe concussion, what we found out was before you can enter the website, a window pops up exclaiming: “NO HELMET SYSTEM CAN PROTECT YOU FROM SERIOUS BRAIN AND/OR NECK INJURIES INCLUDING PARALYSIS OR DEATH. TO AVOID THESE RISKS, DO NOT ENGAGE IN THE SPORT OF FOOTBALL.”
Among other thoughts, we at Nguyen Leftt believe that leagues allowing young children with developing brains to engage in a sport that even the helmet manufacturer acknowledges are inherently dangerous must be held responsible whenever a child suffers an injury from engaging in tackle football. These leagues must warn and educate all parents and children of the inherent dangerous nature of tackle football.
Moreover, we think that a warning posted on a website of manufacturers who profit from selling helmets to tens of thousands of children is not sufficient to advise parents and children of the “protective gears” inability to protect our childrens’ brains.