High school football player in New York, age 14, dies after suffering head injury during game
CARTHAGE, N.Y. (AP) — A high school football player has died after sustaining a head injury during a weekend game, the 14-year-old’s father said on social media.
“We all prayed for a miracle to happen for you to be saved. Sadly, the damage was just too much,” Jason Christman wrote in a Facebook post Tuesday.
Tyler Christman, a freshman at Carthage High School in northern New York, was injured during a junior varsity game against West Genesee High School on Saturday.
In a display of support Monday, students and families, many wearing the school’s color red gathered at a local park for a rally illuminated by lights from first responders’ vehicles, WWNY in Watertown reported.
“You will always be our hero and soon you will be a hero to the people that receive your life saving organ donations,” Jason Christman wrote, “and a hero to all the family members who have spent many sleepless nights praying for their miracle.”
Tyler Christman was at least the second high school football player to die of a head injury in recent months.
Dale Martin, 18, sustained a fatal brain injury during an April 1 game in Colville, Washington.
At least two other players have died after falling ill while practicing. Ivan Hicks, 16, collapsed on the field during warmups at West Catholic Preparatory High School in Philadelphia in July, local media reported. In August, 17-year-old Jack Alkhatib died at a hospital shortly after collapsing during practice at Dutch Fork High School in Irmo, South Carolina.
The National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research at the University of North Carolina tracked a total of 14 middle and high school football deaths in 2019.
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A concussion is a serious, traumatic brain injury. Athletes usually sustain concussions when they fall or collide with one another or an object, such as a goal post. Concussions often occur without an athlete losing consciousness.
Symptoms reported by athletes who have sustained a concussion include headache, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, and a sensitivity to light or noise. Athletes who sustain a concussion may seem dazed and forgetful. They may also experience mood swings and personality changes in the longer term.
Preteens and teens are more likely than adults to sustain a concussion and will take longer to recover. And athletes who have previously had a concussion are more likely to sustain another one. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention came up with a four-step action plan for coaches who suspect one of their athletes has sustained a concussion.
While the total number of injuries across high school sports has decreased since 2005, the total number of concussions has increased by 87%. Concussions can happen to athletes in any sport. Some high school sports, especially football, make up a larger percentage of current concussion rates than others.
- Total concussions: 4,857 (9.2% of all baseball injuries)
--- Concussions from practice: 32.3%
--- Concussions from competition: 67.7%
- Concussions as percent of all high school sport concussions: 1.9%
About half of concussions in baseball occurred while fielding the ball. About 26% happened when a player was hit by a pitch while taking a turn at bat. Batting helmets should fit properly and be in good condition. And officials and coaches should remove any obstacles that may trip players as they round bases or field runs.
- Total concussions: 9,063 (15.3% of all volleyball injuries)
--- Concussions from practice: 50.8%
--- Concussions from competition: 49.2%
- Concussions as percent of all high school sport concussions: 3.6%
Digging caused about 36% of concussions in volleyball, while serving caused about half as many concussions, almost 16%. And setting caused the fewest concussions, about 1%. Teaching players the proper technique for diving for the ball and digging can help prevent concussions. Coaches and staff should keep a close eye on players most likely to get concussions: the outside hitter and setter.
- Total concussions: 9,187 (10.5% of all boys' basketball injuries)
--- Concussions from practice: 50.6%
--- Concussions from competition: 49.4%
- Concussions as percent of all high school sport concussions: 3.6%
More than a quarter of concussions in boys’ basketball occurred while a player was defending the ball. About 13% occurred while players were chasing a loose ball. Players should never hit another player in the head, or use their head to hit another player. Almost two-thirds of concussions in high school boys’ basketball were caused by collisions between players.
- Total concussions: 9,406 (14.2% of all softball injuries)
--- Concussions from practice: 29.3%
--- Concussions from competition: 70.7%
- Concussions as percent of all high school sport concussions: 3.7%
Almost 18% of concussions in softball occurred while fielding a batted ball, and 14% occurred while fielding throws. But less than 10% were caused by being hit by a pitch. Like baseball players, softball players should wear properly fitting batting helmets that are in good condition. Prevention can go beyond prepping individual players: Working with coaches or event administrators to make sure any equipment provided is in solid condition can minimize the risk of concussion, too.
- Total concussions: 17,143 (20.9% of all girls' basketball injuries)
--- Concussions from practice: 30.2%
--- Concussions from competition: 69.8%
- Concussions as percent of all high school sport concussions: 6.7%
Among high school basketball players, girls have higher rates of concussions than boys. Boys saw a total of more than 9,000 concussions while girls saw nearly double that amount, at more than 17,000 concussions. Almost 30% of concussions occured while female players were defending the ball. And a little more than half of concussions were the result of collisions between players.
- Total concussions: 17,739 (19.5% of all wrestling injuries)
--- Concussions from practice: 26.3%
--- Concussions from competition: 73.7%
- Concussions as percent of all high school sport concussions: 7.0%
Almost two-thirds of concussions in wrestling occurred during takedowns. Coaches should teach wrestlers proper takedown techniques and how to avoid taking blows to the head in order to prevent injury. Almost 11% of concussions happened while sparring, so proper technique is paramount. Wrestlers should not make illegal contact with their opponent or hit their opponent in the head.
- Total concussions: 31,061 (16.8% of all boys' soccer injuries)
--- Concussions from practice: 10.1%
--- Concussions from competition: 89.9%
- Concussions as percent of all high school sport concussions: 12.2%
Heading the ball, when players hit the ball with their head as opposed to their feet, caused about 27% of concussions. U.S. Soccer recommends no heading for players 10 and under, and that heading be limited to practices for players between the ages of 11 and 13. Players should never hit another player in the head or use their head to strike another player. They should also learn ways to avoid colliding with others on the field.
- Total concussions: 48,402 (21.2% of all girls' soccer injuries)
--- Concussions from practice: 22.2%
--- Concussions from competition: 77.8%
- Concussions as percent of all high school sport concussions: 19.0%
Among high school soccer players, girls have a higher rate of concussion compared to boys. About 18% of girls’ concussions happened while they struck the ball with their head. And almost 21% of concussions in girls’ soccer occurred while players are defending the ball. Overall, girls’ soccer saw about 17,000 more concussions than boys’ soccer.
- Total concussions: 99,036 (21.7% of all football injuries)
--- Concussions from practice: 32.0%
--- Concussions from competition: 68.0%
- Concussions as percent of all high school sport concussions: 38.9%
Football is where most high school concussions happen by a wide margin. About half of those concussions in high school football occur during running plays. About 31% occur when a player is being tackled by another player, and 23% happen to a player as he tackles an opponent. Linebackers sustained almost 60% of concussions among defensive players and running backs sustained 46% among offensive players. Coaches and assistants should limit the number of contact drills or scrimmages during practices to keep injuries down.
This story originally appeared on Neural Effectsand was produced and distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio.