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High School Football Star In Coma From Head Injury

It’s football season here in Philadelphia and across the nation, but it’s not all drills, touchdowns, and the thrill of victory. Philadelphia residents may be interested in this recent incident of a Chicago high school star’s traumatic brain injury (TBI). It’s a prospect that every player, parent and coach dreads.

Lane Tech, a college prep high school in Chicago, traditionally honors their senior class football team members on the night of their final home game. This past Friday, parents joined their sons for the ceremony on the field, with many of them wearing gold-colored T-shirts bearing the name of one particular player.

That player was not celebrating with his teammates and their parents, nor would he be playing in that evening’s game. He was in the hospital, the victim of a serious head injury sustained during a game the previous week. The star player had walked off the field after a play, only to collapse moments later, and was taken away by ambulance to Advocate Christ Hospital Medical Center.

The past several decades have seen decreasing numbers of death and permanent disability in school and youth football programs due to improvements in medical care and game equipment. Coaches are now much more conscientious about warning players not to hit with their heads.

Youth is also a mitigating factor in the long-term effects of traumatic brain injuries. An Arizona mother whose son suffered a similar injury last year has made a full recovery, although it was an extremely difficult period for their family.

Teens may bounce back from traumatic brain injuries better than older players in the pros, but it’s important for school administrators, coaches and parents to make sure that their children are playing under the safest possible conditions. When faced with potential traumatic brain injury, an ounce of prevention is worth everything.

chicagotribune.com, “Lane Tech family honors injured football player” Annie Sweeney, Oct. 12, 2013