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Head injuries hit close to home

Head injuries are a major concern for all contact sports, especially football. Recently, Abraham Romero, 17, captain of the Organ Mountain High School football team in Las Cruces, New Mexico, died Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022, from a head injury. Romero’s team was playing against the Deming High School football team when he sustained a head injury that put him in a medically induced coma for three weeks until he eventually passing away. 

Some of the dangers football players face when it comes to head injuries are concussions, chronic traumatic encephalopathy and various other traumatic brain injuries. 

Images of brain scans taken Feb. 11, 2014. (Photo by Nathan Schmook/ SportsMedBiologic)

Concussions occur when the brain hits the inside of the skull from a collision. It has been reported that players who suffer from one concussion have a higher chance of getting a second one. Symptoms are also expected to last longer than the symptoms of a prior concussion.

CTE is caused by repeated head injuries that result in the brain becoming weaker over time.  According to Alex Pew and Danielle Shapiro, MD, MPH, in an article from the National Center for Health Research, “CTE is most often found in athletes who have experienced repeated head injuries, such as former boxers, hockey players, and football players.” 

It’s important to know that football players of all ages can be at risk of head injuries, from youth athletes to Olympic athletes. It’s important to be familiar the symptoms of a head injury and follow proper procedures if necessary.

Some parents are concerned about safety in sports. A parent of a Deming High School athlete, Amber Richmond, says that athletes try to continue playing even when they’re injured.

“Because the schools do have rules so that they can’t play if they have so many concussions, a lot of athletes won’t tell their coaches or hide it because they want to continue playing. It’s important to them,” Richmond said.

There have been rules and regulations added to the game of football in order to make sure players are as safe as possible. In an interview with the Las Cruces Sun-News, head coach Mark Lopez shared his opinion on football safety.

“As horrible as [the loss of Romero] is, I really feel like football is at its safest point that it’s ever been when you talk about safety regulations and rule changes and everything else,” Lopez said.

Centennial High School head football coach Aaron Ocampo also weighed in on the topic. “Like anything in life, there’s going to be positives and there’s going to be negatives, too … the risk of injury in football is definitely one of those things that could be seen as a negative,” Ocampo said. 

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