'Catastrophic' Head Injuries to High School Football Players Rising

Annual report found fewer deaths but more cases of permanent brain damage

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"Parents should really check with the school," he said. "How is the coach teaching fundamentals? Are emergency action plans in effect? In some states, parents and players are required to attend meetings at the beginning of the season to talk about concussion symptoms."

Despite better awareness and added protections, football remains a violent game, as illustrated by the National Football League's current "bounty" scandal involving some players receiving cash bonuses for injuring opponents.

"That's probably the worst thing that's happened in football in a long time," Mueller said. "High school kids see professional players on TV using their heads that way and announcers saying, 'that's a great hit.' Kids think maybe that's what they should be doing."

More information

Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to learn about concussions in sports.

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