football concussions

Football Concussions: The Bane of a Sport

R. Robert Franks, DO, FAOASM April 27th, 2017

Here are the key things you need to know about football concussions.

For athletes, being involved in sports means making sure their bodies are in the best shape possible to excel at their sport. But being involved in athletics also raises one’s potential for injury. Athletes seeking full recovery from a head injury must seek the necessary treatment and care to prevent further damage that could keep them out of the game even longer. We know that professional football concussions are a big source of controversy, but these injuries are not limited to the pros. An estimated 1.6 to 3.8 million sports related concussions occur each year in the United States. Whether you play professionally, in high school, or just just for fun, football concussions may occur and require immediate and proper treatment.

What is a Football Concussion?

A concussion is a mild, traumatic brain injury. It occurs when an outside force causes the brain to move backward and forward inside the skull. This may occur from either a direct blow to the head, or from an impact to the body which causes the head to snap back and forth. While a concussion can occur in any sport or even just from a fall during everyday activities, as a collision sport the number of concussions in football is particularly high. Studies show that high school football is consistently the sport with the greatest proportion of concussions (47.1%) and the highest concussion rate (6.4 concussions per 10,000 athletic exposures).

When an athlete receives a head injury, sometimes it is not so obvious. An athlete does not have to be tackled to the ground to receive a concussion--any type of blow or impact that causes the brain to move is a head injury. Any injury to the head is serious, no matter the level of impact and should be examined by a physician.

Because of this high rate of football concussions it is important to practice awareness, prevention, and proper treatment in cases when injury does occur. Each time a person suffers a concussion, there is a higher risk of experiencing another one. It is extremely important that we do everything we can to ensure the safety of our athletes and provide them with superior care when they are injured.


It is important to be aware of the threat of concussions so that preventative measures can be taken. In particular, parents of athletes and coaches should be thoroughly educated on football concussion protocol..  (There is no protective gear that prevents concussion.)Unfortunately, protective gear is not concussion proof–they can help reduce the effect of the impact, but concussions can still occur. Training athletes in proper techniques and safety measures can reduce the likelihood of a concussion, as well as educating parents and coaches on what to look for in case one does occur.


There is no way to completely eliminate the potential for concussions in sports or even in normal daily activities. For this reason, it is crucial that people are aware of the seriousness of concussions. A concussion is not something to shake off and keep going. It is essential that the brain is given the opportunity to heal completely before returning to action.

The primary treatment for a concussion is complete physical and mental rest initially, with gradual increases in activity. The most current research shows extended periods of rest can be detrimental to recovery. This is why it is important to have your care managed by an experienced sports concussion physician who can monitor symptoms, activity, and treatment during the course of recovery.

If you or someone you love has suffered a football concussion, then you should seek expert medical treatment immediately. Consider contacting Rothman Orthopaedic Institute for treatment from some of the best medical expertise in the region. Do not let a concussion go untreated. Get the care necessary to ensure that you or your loved one gets back in the game without the risks of future complications or injury. Call us today at 1-800-321-9999.

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