EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


October 13, 2013

Your view: Letters to the editor

Football injury claims don’t match facts

To the editor:

I am writing in response to the letter by Charles Hosterman in The Eagle-Tribune Oct. 3. I do appreciate the concern for child safety and community interest that Mr. Hosterman has shown. He also questions parents of 5- to 7-year-old Pop Warner participants, where their “brains and common sense” are located. And he suggests the need to “rethink their values.” The letter states “the NFL is investigating serious head trauma among pro football players.” Well, I should certainly hope so, Mr. Hosterman! Yet, this vague statement is void of any scientific research or study.

I happen to be one of the parents of a 7-year-old on the team. And while some may feel this automatically puts me at bias to respond, I also will inform from a medical/scientific research standpoint. My basis for knowledge has been working for several years as a registered nurse in neurosurgery and orthopedics in a local urban trauma center and currently I am a clinical nurse educator with a local visiting nurse agency. I can assure Mr. Hosterman I have done my research related to head trauma, sports related injury and traumatic brain injury. I must keep up with the latest evidenced based studies and clinical practice and literally it impacts the way I work and live everyday.

A traumatic brain injury is caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain. Not all blows or jolts to the head result in a TBI. The severity of a TBI may range from “mild” -- a brief change in mental status or consciousness -- to “severe” -- an extended period of unconsciousness or amnesia after the injury.

The majority of TBIs that occur each year are concussions or other forms of mild TBI (CDC, 2013). Mild TBI (mTBI) accounts for 80-90 percent of all treated cases. Pop Warner football involves children age 5-14 to participate in tackle football, and according to CDC, this age group is less likely to sustain a TBI.

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