By Charles Glover, Jr.
An unfortunate injury caused during a high school football game resulted in the death of 16 year-old player Tyrell Cameron on Friday September 4, 2015. Cameron died later that night after breaking his neck during a routine punt coverage in the fourth quarter of a Louisiana high school football game.
Johnny Ogden, an investigator with the parish coroner’s office told USA Today Sports that “Life-saving measures were performed and CPR was performed, but he was pronounced dead (at the hospital).”
As Cameron’s family, coaches and teammates mourn the loss of a young life, Coach Barry Sebren expressed his team’s grief, saying: “It was a routine play. It was such a tragedy, so unfortunate. We’re gonna miss him. He’s a great player and even better person. That’s what we’re going to miss most about Tyrell.”
The tragic accident mirrors an eerily similar incident in 2013 where De’Antre Turman of Creekside High School in Union City, Georgia, died while playing in a scrimmage game after he tackled another player. Dr. Daniel Sciubba, an assistant professor of Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University, called Turman’s death, “a very freak accident.” Sciubba added, “It’s just the fact that people are hitting each other as hard as they can and [the neck] area is not immobilized.”
These incidents are extreme examples of the inherent danger of playing such a violent sport, but the larger question is how are players being protected? Youth football is one of the most popular activities provided to youngsters but questions persist about player safety. Sport neurologist Dr. Anthony Alessi commented recently on the subject stating, “We know that the brain is not fully developed at the youth level. The most successful players in the NFL did not play youth football.”
While officials at all levels of football have been asked to address concerns from fans and participants, expectations increase that the NFL take the lead on player safety. As the NFL continues to deal with lawsuits from former players who maintain that the NFL did not do enough to protect them during their careers, the league has issued the following statement recently:
“We are encouraged by the ongoing focus on the critical issue of player health and safety. We have no higher priority. We all know more about this issue then we did 10 or 20 years ago. As we continue to learn more, we apply those learnings to make our game and players safer.”
The regular season has begun for high school and colleges across the country and the NFL regular season will begin this Thursday. While there is plenty of excitement for the game, there are some who are having a difficult time balancing their desire for entertainment from this collision sport as more information surfaces about the potential for serious injury for those gifted players. Sony Pictures’ upcoming film, Concussion, featuring Will Smith, will depict the hazards of concussions uncovered by a doctor with access to NFL players and the uphill battle he faced in getting the issue addressed.
Meanwhile, this past Labor Day, former Green Bay Packers wide receiver Adrian Coxson, announced his retirement from football. Coxson expressed grave concerns for his health from a concussion he sustained in practice three weeks earlier. Coxson made this statement to the National Football Post:
“I’m retiring because I’m still having symptoms, and my health is more important to me than the game of football,” Coxson told . “It’s been recommended to me by two neurologists and two doctors to retire from football. This last [hit to my head] could be life-damaging. It has taken a great toll on me. This concussion was a bad one. A Grade 3 concussion is real serious.”
The fans of football and family members of players like Cameron, Turman, and Coxson will continue to support a sport they clearly enjoy. As millions more continue to enjoy football going forward, it is likely that greater safety measures will be implemented to allow players to avoid more tragic outcomes.–OnPointPress.net–
Charles Glover, Jr. is a senior writer and a licensed insurance professional partnered with HealthMarkets. Follow me @GloverIsGood on Twitter.com. Check out www.HealthMarkets.com/cglover for your free health insurance and life insurance quotes.