Concussions have become a major concern on both the college and professional level, and rightfully so. What does not receive much attention is the effects that concussions have on the lowest level: high school. High school athletes lack the medical attention and care that athletes at the college and professional have. High school players can easily be put back on the field too soon after a concussion, take the case of Jaquan Waller. Waller died in 2008 after returning to the field 48 hours after receiving a concussion and then suffering a second one.
With knowledge of the risks of concussions growing, and possibly changing how football is played, one can only wonder the effect that it will have on the sport in high schools across the country. The cost of insuring high school players will rise incredibly the more that is learned about concussions and the risks of playing football. If modern science can develop a helmet that significantly reduce the effect of hits, most high schools likely will not be able to fit these helmets in their budgets. Some players and their families will not be able to afford them individually, thus making the use of these helmets as commonplace highly unlikely.
What about the players themselves? Knowing the risks that come with playing the sport, will parents continue to allow their children to play in high school? Sure the child whose only way to get into college is by playing football, or the child who has a chance at playing professionally will continue to play but will that be enough to field teams? Could we see high school football go the way of AAU basketball?
This likely would not happen for at least ten to fifteen years, as the demise of high school football would be slow. What could happen is that the players competing for college scholarships join AAU teams and play against each other. The big apparel companies like Nike, Under Armour, Reebok, etc would pick up the insurance costs and allow children to still play high school football.
Granted this scenario is potentially years away, but may be something necessary to save high school football.
How Could Concussions Effect High School Football?