Posted: Feb 3, 2013 3:08 PM by Mark Freeman
Updated: Feb 3, 2013 6:20 PM
Sports related injuries are bound to happen. But how much is too much when it comes to football?
A study by the Center for Disease Control conducted between 2001 and 2009 looked at the total number of sports related injuries reported by hospitals, and within that number, the amount of which were Traumatic Brain Injuries, or TBIs. During that span, the number of TBIs increased over 60 percent. The most popular sport among those athletes? Football. While it shows an increase especially over the last 4 years of the study, what the numbers don't show because of a lack of data, is what could be increased awareness or early diagnosis. And that is something that is preached at all levels of the sport here in southwest Montana.
Maureen Michaud is the program director at the Gallatin Valley YMCA which runs flag football for young athletes just starting out: "And that's something that we talk about with our coaches, is making sure that we teaching them the right skills."
"We bring in somebody that is actually trained and qualified to talk about concussions and we tell them the symptoms to look for," says John Close, the commissioner of the Gallatin Empire Lions Midget football league, about the training they give their coaches.
Both of those organizations try to prevent such injuries from happening as best they can but if it does happen to a young athlete, chances are they'll be sent to Bridger Orthopedic right next to Bozeman Deaconess Hospital. That's where you find Dr. Alex LeGrand. Who not only has a medical perspective on the sport, but also a personal one considering he played Aussie Rules Football when he was younger
"From what used to be, you got your bell rung and you kept it a go, is now a concussion and so we take it a lot more seriously," says LeGrand. "I've known so many of the kids who played football here through the high school and college level and I think it's done great things for them. They've gained so much from the sport. I'd be hard pressed to tell someone not to play football because of a possible injury."
And in an attempt to increase safety in the sport even more, just this past week, Senate Bill 112 was proposed to the Montana Legislature that would require high school athletes who suffer concussions, to be removed from the game.