HBO’s Real Sports Features Concussion Crisis in Youth Football Players

Over the past three years, 17 high school football players have died after sustaining head injuries while playing. A similar situation in the NFL would have caused a national uproar, so how has this been allowed to happen to our youth?

Take a look at trailer for this riveting episode of HBO’s series Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, which is airing several times on HBO through mid-December 2016, as well as On Demand. The episode as a whole explores why there are such inconsistencies in protecting professional athletes versus the youngest players.

Does Riddell Have a Duty to Protect Players?

Whose responsibility is to make sure an athlete remains concussion free? The player? The coach? Parents? Well, at least 2,500 people believe it should be the helmet manufacturers.

Right now 2,500 plaintiffs are seeking damages against Riddell because they believe the sports equipment company had a duty to protect NFL players against the long-term risk of concussions, yet defaulted on that obligation.  

Further, the plaintiffs believe that Riddell falsely marketed their helmets as having the ability to reduce the risk of concussions by a substantial percentage. Plaintiffs refer to Riddell’s Revolution helmet in their Master Complaint, pointing out that Riddell marketed the helmet as reducing concussions by 31%.

In response to this accusation, all Riddell Football Helmets now include concussion awareness hang-tags with information from USA Football and the CDC.

Whose responsibility is it to educate the sports community about the dangers of concussion? In our estimation, everyone.

College Football Conferences Begin Studying Concussion Awareness

The SEC (Southeastern Conference), a Division I participant of the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association), has recently formed a task force to study the effects of concussion among college football players.

The conference, which includes colleges in the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas, decided to form the group because of the several concussion lawsuits brought by former pro football players against the NFL.

The Southeastern Conference (SEC) of the NCAA has recently launched a task force to look into concussions among its football players and how to protect them from brain injuries.

Concern about the long-term effects of concussions is spreading from the professional level to the college athletics, especially since virtually none of the football conferences have established guidelines for dealing with head injuries.

University of Florida President Bernie Machen said last week, “We’re all aware that issues associated with concussions sustained during athletic competition have become increasingly matters of concern both within our league and indeed at the national level.”

The SEC’s decision comes on the heels of the Big Ten’s recent initiative to begin studying head injuries through its academic consortium. With 12 member universities in the states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, the Big Ten conference includes some of the largest student bodies in the country.

Last year, the Ivy League, with eight private institutions in the northeastern U.S., became the only conference to implement specific guidelines in an effort to reducing concussions among its football players. Its rules now include limiting full-contact practices to twice a week, a 60 percent reduction from NCAA rules, as well as the possibility of players being penalized for helmet hits, including the option of suspension for intentional hits.