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Brocton High School Football Player Dies Following Collision on Field

Sep 19, 2013

A helmet-to-helmet collision during a high school football game left a 16-year-old player dead last week. Damon Janes was a junior at Westfield/Brocton High School in New York; he was playing in a varsity football game on Friday and died Monday afternoon at Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, according to Janes, a running back, collided with a defensive back, and lost consciousness after the collision in the game’s third quarter.

Since 2003, 25 deaths involving U.S. high school football players have been reported, according to the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research at the University of North Carolina, wrote. Some 1.1 million teenagers played high school football in the U.S. in 2012, the research center also reported, adding that 4.2 million people played football that year, from youths to NFL players.

Meanwhile, New York Attorney General (AG) Eric T. Schneiderman recently issued a warning concerning bogus football helmet safety claims.

Claims that a helmet is “concussion-proof” or is constructed of “anti-concussive” properties likely are misleading, according to the AG, Law360 wrote. These claims could mislead parents and pose dangers to players and their parents, said Schneiderman, who warned manufacturers about marketing product safety. “Ensuring that manufacturers don’t mislead the public and endanger young New Yorkers is a key concern for my office,” Schneiderman said in a news release.

Some helmet manufacturers are touting so-called “aftermarket add-on” products for football helmets such as liners, bumpers, pads, and electronic devices with promises of reduced concussion risks despite, noted Schneiderman, there being no data available that indicates these claims are legitimate for youth players, according to Law360.

“Football helmets were developed to protect against massive head trauma, but unfortunately, we’re seeing more evidence they have not been designed to prevent less immediately catastrophic injuries like concussions,” said Long Island Republican State Senator Kemp Hannon. “Despite some helmets being labeled ‘anti-concussion,’ this isn’t necessarily the case,” Hannon added, wrote Law360.

Senator Hannon sponsored 2012 state legislation that made it mandatory for coaches, teachers, and other relevant personnel to undergo training to help them recognize the symptoms of mild traumatic brain injury as well as be able to provide appropriate medical treatment, explained Law360. The AG said that players exhibiting symptoms should be removed from games until symptoms are resolved. Schneiderman said players should also undergo training on techniques to reduce head-to-head contact.

The AG’s warning followed the announcement of the NFL’s proposed $765 million settlement with over 4,000 former professional football players involved in litigation over the way in which the league handled its players’ brain injuries, Law360 noted.

“It’s important to remember that no helmet can fully prevent a concussion,” Schneiderman said. “Just as important, we must work to educate young athletes and their parents about how to reduce the risk of concussion and detect early warning signs on the field.”

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