Earlier last month, a 17-year-old high-school football player died after he was injured in the final play of the game. According to one local news source, the boy was able to make it off the field initially but then collapsed. He was shortly thereafter pronounced dead. The cause of death, according to the medical examiner, was "blunt force trauma to the head due to a football accident."
This tragic death marks the seventh high-school football player to die this year. Last year, there were 11 such deaths. Most of these deaths occur after the player sustains a head or spine injury, according to the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research at the University of North Carolina. The remaining deaths are caused by indirect factors not related to physical trauma.
Why Are the Death Rates So High?
Anyone following the news recently will recall that professional football has been under intense scrutiny as of the past few years for the myriad injuries - both immediate and long-term - suffered by players. On the high-school level, the instances of injury are even higher. In fact, according to the American Journal for Sports Medicine, high-school players are three times more likely to suffer serious injury than professional athletes.