The leading cause of death in young adults is traumatic brain injury, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, part of the National Institutes of Health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the leading cause of TBI-related injuries among males 10-19 years of age was American football (in a study of data from 2001-2009; bicycling was second).
But awareness of head injuries in sports, especially football, is growing. The CDC offer on-line training to help coaches recognize and respond to concussion, with emphasis on prevention.
A company called Inlightened has created a tracking system for each person's injury and medical treatment, accessible by parents, doctors, and coaches or athletic trainers. Called Spot Light, the system's goal is to ensure every injury is monitored and a person gets medical clearance before returning to the playing field.
Whether every injury is reported may well depend on eagle-eyed coaches and/or self-reporting from the players themselves. A young athlete may not recognize when a brain injury has occurred, and, if adults don’t see it happen, the athlete may not receive needed medical attention.
Still, it’s a good start, one which shines a spotlight on a previously under-reported and, too often, unacknowledged ("suck it up") or untreated injury.
Kudos to the National Football League for funding research on traumatic brain injuries; but while injuries can happen anywhere, anytime, to anybody, there's no sense of sport in seeing people's bones broken and muscles and tendons torn, in addition to the head, neck and spinal cord injuries in American football. Give me what the world calls football -- soccer -- but y'all can keep that devil ball. I love the boys too much to support its carnage.