Football uniforms are looking immaculate.
Cleats are ready for the turf whether its real or artificial.
It does not even matter. Tailgating plans are underway.
The grills are ready to send mouth watering fumes of goodness into the atmosphere. Your team is the team to beat this year…forget about last year.
You learned from your mistakes and history will not repeat itself this season.
New game plans and new strategies, new coaching staffs and a plethora of new and anxious athletes ready for the G.O.A.T. (the Game Of All Times) this football season.
But wait…is your head in the game…safely, that is?
This is not only a question for the athletes but for the cheerleaders as well. According to Marar , McIlvain et al (2012), most cheerleading concussions occur during practice in the performance of stunts and lifts and in the absence of teammates or coaches.
There are no safety nets or mats present on the sidelines to protect falls or concussions.
Safe practice sessions produce safe executions during live performances during all the gametime excitement.
The same researchers concluded that tackling is the expected in football athletics but it is the contributor to 63% of high school football injuries.
Forty-nine percent of the head injuries occur during running plays. Hence, the running backs’ safety is paramount because they sustain nearly 46% of the concussions on the offensive lines.
The linebackers suffer 46% of the offensive lines’ concussion. Therefore, effective helmet and gear safety is crucial as well as the intense training that playing football entails. In 2017 researchers Patel, Parachuri and Shettigar concluded that the occurrences of concussions in any sport may result either from a direct impact to the head or from indirect forces transmitted to the brain from impact elsewhere on the body.
They stated that any sudden acceleration, deceleration or rotational forces to the brain can cause concussions.
Since 2017, great strides have been made to make contact sports safer for their participants by implementing concussion guidelines.
The NFL and AFL organizations have taken the initiatives to create a safer and healthier environment on and off the football fields.
Their efforts have transcended to the youth football leagues nationally.
Sports injuries are often underreported or recognized.
The desire to stay in the game by the players often masks the long term effects of their injuries to their limbs as well.
Preventive strategies for all athletes and where applicable for cheerleaders include education, modification of sport rules, use of equipment such as headgears, face masks and mouth guards, and neck muscle training as some of the sport safety principles that are supported by public health officials in collaboration with sports medicine organizations.
This is a promising year of sports fun. Stay educated on sport safety and above all…keep your head while in the game and on the sidelines.