6 Tips for Preventing High School Football Injuries

Christopher C. Dodson, MD October 3rd, 2018

Rothman Orthopaedic Institute Offers Superior Care for Football Injuries

If you’ve ever glanced over high school football injuries statistics, you know that football—even at the high school level — is an exceptionally dangerous sport. While other sports (hockey, soccer, lacrosse) all carry their fair share of risks and dangers, no sport matches football in terms of the number and severity of injuries accrued annually.

High school football injuries are common among young athletes in the sport. For every 1,000 players, an average of 12 injuries occur. What’s more, these injuries are often traumatic and severe in nature. Since 1982, over 600 catastrophic high school football injuries have occurred; in terms of high school football deaths statistics, more than 100 of those injuries were fatal.

These dismal statistics might give parents pause when it comes to their children playing high school football. Fortunately, there is good news for those with passionate football players in the family: prevention is possible. While many football accidents cannot be adequately prepared for or prevented, there are still more that can be mitigated through careful sportsmanship, proper equipment, situational awareness, and other important skills.

The orthopaedic experts at Rothman Orthopaedic Institute specialize in sports medicine and have extensive experience treating high school football injuries. To learn more about preventative measures, read Rothman Orthopaedic Institute’s overview of football injury prevention below.

How to Avoid Injuries on the Field

Prevention is always preferable to treatment. Before the high school football season begins, consider this list of six steps that can be taken to better prevent injuries during practices and games.

  1. Stay in shape year round.
    Maintain a fitness and strength-training regime throughout the year—not just during football season. Commencing the sports season while out of shape can make you far more prone to orthopaedic injuries.

  2. Warm up, cool down, and stretch.
    Stretching reduces muscle soreness and keeps muscles active and flexible. Warming up, meanwhile, reduces the risk of injury; cold, stiff muscles are far more injury-prone. Likewise, cooling down and stretching allows tense muscles and ligaments to relax.

  3. Always wear proper equipment.
    All players should be equipped with proper athletic and safety gear during both games and practices. Equipment should include:

    • Helmet

    • Shoulder pads

    • Hip pads

    • Tailbone pad

    • Knee pads

    • Mouthpiece

    • Thigh pads

    • Athletic supporter and protective cup

    • Properly fitted cleats or turf shoes

  4. Avoid overtraining.
    If pain or discomfort begins to arise, you likely are overtraining and stressing your musculoskeletal system. If you are experiencing pain, scale back your training to avoid serious injuries.

  5. Stay hydrated.
    Dehydration itself is a problem, but athletes are likewise more susceptible to cramps, disorientation, and overheating without a plentiful supply of fluids. Always stay properly hydrated.

  6. Practice proper technique.
    Your coach will determine whether your football technique is flawed. Incorrect throwing, kicking, tackling, blocking, or running technique can lead to a higher risk of injury. For example, leading with the helmet when tackling can cause injury; tackling should always be performed with the head up.

As mentioned previously, prevention is always preferable to treatment. However, many injuries cannot be avoided — especially traumatic accidents. If an injury does occur, it is critical to respond to the injury immediately and seek out medical treatment. Left unaddressed, many small injuries can increase in severity.

If and when high school football injuries do occur, you’ll want to ensure that young athletes receive the absolute best care available to them. With unmatched skill and expertise treating orthopaedic injuries and a broad, specialized knowledge of sports medicine, Rothman Orthopaedic Institute can offer elite-quality care to athletes in the Philadelphia, New Jersey, and New York City areas. Contact Rothman Orthopaedic Institute if you have any questions about treatment options at 1-800-321-9999.

Related Specialties

Related Physicians

Filter Physicians



Please select your region to view available physicians.

Select Your Region

Related Treatments

Related Services

Related Programs

  • Athletic Training- Sport Medicine Outreach

    Our Field Athletic Trainers provide direct sports medicine care to youth, high school, college and professional athletes. Rothman AT’s provide athletic training services throughout Southeastern PA and NJ to interscholastic high schools, colleges, as well as tournaments and special events.
    Read More
  • Injury Prevention Program

    The Injury Prevention Program at the Rothman Orthopaedic Institute is dedicated to the prevention of injuries from athletic participation, particularly youth sports.
    Read More
  • Sports Concussion Program

    Concussion care is a special focus of Rothman's sports medicine program. We've developed the most advanced multi-disciplinary evaluation and treatment techniques based on research done by the concussion specialists here at Rothman Orthopaedic Institute.
    Read More
1 of 1
You are using an unsupported version of Internet Explorer. To ensure security, performance, and full functionality, please upgrade to an up-to-date browser.