Discussions surrounding brain trauma and the future of football typically focus on the National Football League, which has fewer than 2,000 players on active rosters. Meanwhile, more than 1 million teenagers play high school football every year.
Football-induced brain damage is not just an NFL problem.
With researchers just beginning to quantify football’s impact on the brain, the Times-Dispatch will examine the potential short- and long-term effects of brain injury for high school football players, and how those effects are discussed and handled in Richmond-area high schools.
Part 1: The Culture, Oct. 12
High school football players think about and respond to brain trauma in a variety of ways — some are walking away from the game, while others continue to play through brain injuries.
Part 2: The Risk, Oct. 20
The risks of high school football on players' brains goes far beyond concussions, with the leading edge of research suggesting CTE and bleeding in the brain are both potential risks.
Part 3: The Conversation, Oct. 27
Though concussion education is similar in all Richmond-area high schools, the topics of CTE and other potential brain injuries are discussed at the discretion of individual athletic trainers.
Part 4: The Prevention, Nov. 13
A new tackling technique has become a widespread method for concussion prevention for Richmond-area high school football teams, while equipment innovations are trying to help minimize head injuries as well.
Part 5: The Future, Dec. 1
Currently, more questions than answers exist surrounding the long-term risks that high school football can have on its players' brains. Local researchers are trying to answer some of those questions.