Football Safety Measures
With significant medical and safety advancements made in just the past decade, people are becoming more and more aware of the potential dangers of playing football. While most people know about the risk of injury and broken bones, greater awareness is being made of less visible injuries, such as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). While football continues to be a popular sport amongst youths and professionals alike, it is vital that safety measures continue to evolve. Here are some of the most innovative football safety measures of 2019.
CTE Awareness Campaigns
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a neurodegenerative disease. This disease is caused by repeated blows to the head, making it a common occurrence among tackle football players. The symptoms of CTE include problems with mood, behavioral issues, and memory. There is no test for this disease until post-mortem, and symptoms don’t usually present until years after the injuries. CTE may also, unfortunately, result in early-onset dementia. Football players are especially prone to CTE because of the repetitive trauma to their heads. Awareness of CTE has become a major focus of discussion among football players and the NFL, resulting in changes to make the game safer.
NFL Rule Changes
The NFL had to make a rule change in the last year in order to better commit to reducing instances of head-on collisions. The new rule states, “It is a foul if a player lowers his head to initiate and make contact with his helmet against an opponent. This rule pertains to all players on the field, and to all areas of the field.” (NFL). The goal of this rule is to discourage the use of head-first tackling and as a result make the game safer for all professional players and those training to become professionals.
Age Restrictions on Tackle Football
Another safety measure made in 2019 has occurred in the youth league space. Many youth football leagues and schools have begun to prohibit tackle football playing in children under the age of 12. These children may instead play safer alternatives to tackle football, such as flag football. In fact, studies of NFL players have proven that playing before high school does not affect how well a student will play. By saving their developing brain and body from concussions and other injuries during these younger years, students who wait until high school to play will excel and can go on to have successful careers in football.
Improved Safety Gear
Additional safety measurements taken this past year include improved safety gear for football players. While helmets and pads have always been a requirement, technology is advancing to keep football players safer than ever. Helmets are continuously being developed to ensure better protection of players and prevention of brain injury.
Greater Awareness of Physical Therapy
2019 was a great year for athletes and how they are becoming more serious about their health. Physical health is paramount to being a competitive athlete, yet so many football players ignore pain and discomfort in their muscles, joints, and bones. Advancements in physical therapy and sports injury prevention have become extremely popular for its ability to help so many athletes avoid injury. Additionally, physical therapy services are continuing to help injured athletes return to their sport stronger than ever.
Learn More About Football Safety With Dr. Chams
Dr. Roger Chams is a team physician for many youth and professional athletic associations and teams. Dr. Chams is passionate about injury prevention, particularly among football players who are at risk of traumatic injuries every time they step onto the field. To learn more about football safety, injury prevention, or professional injury treatment, contact Dr. Chams today.