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Brain injuries and football: more awareness could be game-changer

For years, baseball was often called America's pass-time. More recently, however, football has become known as America's passion. Baltimore Ravens' fans experienced this to the hilt when the team won the Super Bowl last season.

We have certainly not ignored America's passion in this blog. In one of the first workers' compensation posts, on September 27 of last year, we discussed a case involving two former Washington Redskins players who had were seeking workers' comp benefits in Maryland.

More recently, in our October 10 post, we wrote about a new California law that seeks to place limits on the ability of professional athletes from out of state to file workers' comp claims in California -- even if they were injured there.

In this post, we will look at how awarness of brain injuries may be affecting youth football participation rates.

An increasing awareness of the risk of long-term brain damage from head injuries suffered while playing football may be on the verge of becoming a game-changer.

It isn't only the fact that many former professional players have sued the National Football League (NFL), claiming the league misled them about the risks of head injuries. After all, the NFL has deep pockets and has a lot of money to throw at such suits.

The real game-changer may be decreasing levels of participation in football at the youth sports level. The nation's largest youth-level program, called Pop Warner, says the number of players went down by 9.5 percent from 2010 to 2012.

To be sure, there are still a lot of youth football players. In the Pop Warner program, 2010 marked a record high, with nearly 250,000. But the trend is now going the other way and the issue of brain injuries surely has a lot to do with it.

Source: Yahoo, "Report: NFL head injuries have led to drastic youth football participation decline," Anwar S. Richardson, Nov. 14, 2013

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