If you’ve ever got a hankering to rob a bank in Texas, just wait for Friday nights during the fall and it will be the perfect crime – everyone else will be at the high school football stadium.

Yes, Texans love of high school football cannot be overestimated. No other state in the country produces more college football players per year than Texas, and no other population is more passionate about supporting their local boys every weekend in the state that made Friday Night Lights into a household term.

The past 10 years has brought sobering speculation the sport we all hold so dear, namely just how safe is it for young men to play this game that features such explosive collisions, bone-jarring hits, and pulse-pounding pressure.

Battling the Heat

Before a single helmet is strapped on, Texas high school football players have to deal with the brutal heat that permeates the state every August and September. Across Texas, weather forecasters promote heat advisories and warn citizens to stay indoors, but at the local high school, dozens of boys ages 14-17 are outside doing drills, running laps, and working hard hoping to earn a spot on the varsity team. In this environment, it’s up to coaches and athletic trainers to ensure everyone stays hydrated. It’s a tall task, and one that parents must educate their sons about taking seriously. According to the handbook of the University Interscholastic League (UIL), players can suffer heat cramps, heat syncope, heat exhaustion, and the life-threatening heatstroke from too much exposure to the conditions without proper hydration.

Concussion Risks

It took a rash of tragic deaths to finally open eyes nationwide, but the concussion epidemic in American football is real, leading to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a debilitating brain condition that manifests in memory loss, depression, anxiety, headaches, and difficulty sleeping. To cut down on the number of concussions plaguing Texas high school football players, helmets have been redesigned to reduce the ability of using them like a weapon when tackling. Additionally, such style of play where a defender leads with his head against an offensive player have been deemed illegal and players can be ejected from a game for performing them.

That negates some of the behavior, but player safety remains a huge concern. Teams across the state have also installed a concussion protocol which players must go through if they suffer an injury during the game or during practice that includes symptoms of a concussion, including, but not limited to:

  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Lack of coordination (short term or long term)
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty answering simple questions

Players put into concussion protocol during a game must be checked out by a certified athletic trainer or doctor before returning to the field. If they fail the protocol, they must sit out the rest of the game and be re-evaluated in a few days before returning to any level of competition. Suffering more than one concussion in the same season should give parents serious pause on whether or not the rewards of continuing to play football outweigh the risks of multiple concussions suffered in a short amount of time.

As Friday night high school football fun kicks off, the thought of a player being injured is the last thought on anyone’s mind, but it is a possibility. Our experienced staff is here to provide the community with the utmost quality of services to help players get back on the field faster. Texarkana Emergency Center is here to support your family 24/7, 365 with concierge-level emergency care for all ages. We’re excited to see how great this year’s football season will be!

Disclaimer: As a service to our readers, Texarkana Emergency Center and Nutex Health state no content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.

Nutex Health, Inc supports you and your family’s health. You can depend on Texarkana Emergency Center, or any one of our concierge-level, medical facilities to deliver the emergency care you deserve, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

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