Fortunately, the majority of injuries in football are non- catastrophic. The most common injuries are: contusions, muscle strains, and ligament sprains. In the U.S. it is estimated that football accounts for 63 per cent of all concussions sustained in high school sports. Head injury is the most common injury responsible for death in tackle football, (69 per cent) followed by cervical spine injury. Of the non-fatal catastrophic injuries, cervical spine injuries are the most common in tackle football. The most common cause of spinal cord injury is from axial loading to the spine when players spear each other head first during a tackle.
Tips for removing serious injury injury hazards in football
- All players should have access to adequate pre- seasonal, seasonal, and on-field medical expertise.
- Players should be matched to size, strength, power, skill level, fitness and experience.
- Players should undergo a proper conditioning regimen which includes strengthening neck muscles.
- Implement a year-round conditioning
and training program to maintain muscle strength, balance, coordination, flexibility, mobility, agility, and endurance.
- Players should be taught the essential skills of football, especially tackling and blocking.
- Discourage all foul play and strictly enforce rules.
- Limit contact during practice; instead use equipment to teach strategies.
- Properly fit players with protective equipment: helmet, shoulder and neck padding, and a mouth guard. Teach them to appropriately pad and tape themselves.
- Players and coaches should understand the basics of injury mechanisms, how
to identify a serious injury, and when to seek help.
- Always follow proper Return to Play Guidelines if a player has a concussion.
- The field should be well maintained and an adequate buffer zone should be in place surrounding the playing area to prevent out-of-bounds injuries.
Risk factors to consider
- Age and gender: of the 30 catastrophic injuries 29 were sustained by males all under the age of 30.
- Previous injuries: having a previous injury predisposes a player to re-injury.
- Style of play: aggression, inattentiveness, and rule breaking lead to increased risk of injury.
- Position Defensive backs are at greatest risk for brain and spinal injury. Receivers, running backs, and quarterbacks are also at increased risk.
- Field surface: it is generally believed that natural grass is safer than artificial turf.
- Equiment: properly fitted helmets and neck support reduce risk for injury