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K. Lindsay Rakers
K. Lindsay Rakers
Attorney • (314) 588-8500

Are You Ready for Some Football? Grab Your Helmets!

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I'm no different than the rest of Americans as Fall approaches. I instantly think of sweatshirts, chili, pumpkins and football! I'm a Dallas Cowboys fan – don't hold it against me. While my team choice might be questionable, my concern for the safety of these football players is not.

Traumatic brain injuries is a growing problem in today's football games. The NFL is well aware of the problem which is why it donated $30 million to the National Institute of Health. It is also why more and more former NFL players are actively speaking out about traumatic brain injuries and even going so far as to plan in advance for the effects of football's hard hits on the brain to be examined after death.

Yet we all gather around the television on Saturdays (to watch college football) and on Sundays (to watch our favorite NFL teams) and hoot and hollar after the big hits. This is why the ratings are through the roof. The NFL isn't going to prevent hits – why would anyone watch the game? Some NFL coaches are even being punished/accused of offering incentives to their players for hard hits. No doubt, it scares us all when we see a player laying on the ground, knocked out after a big hit. We all hope that he is okay – that he will stand up – that we will see the infamous thumbs up as he is being carted off the field. But what about the violent hits that don't appear to be so violent? Day after day, these players are hit in the head by other players or the ground. Sometimes, their heads don't even hit anything but the damage is there nevertheless.

As an Illinois and Missouri car accident attorney, I know that these injuries can occur. As a car is struck, there is no doubt a violent counter reaction inside the vehicle. Although the driver's head may not hit anything, the head and neck are nevertheless thrown back and forth which results in the brain being thrown back and forth inside the skull. These forms of whiplash can actually result in closed head injuries, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), and concussions. the same thing happens in football. We have to wonder what the long term effects of these head injuries are.

And it isn't just happening in football. Head injuries (traumatic brain injuries and concussions) can occur with all sports – gymnastics, soccer, hockey, volleyball, even bike riding – any sport. So we, as parents, need to address the issue. Prior to allowing our children to participate in these sports, we must discuss the importance of head safety with our kids. We must talk to the coaches about their views on body protection, tackles, signs of head injuries.

Lindsay Rakers, Illinois car accident attorney.